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*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Dec 12th, 2014 at 03:37:11 PM EST
There's a bureaucrat in your bathroom! | EurActiv

It used to be a favourite trick of the British media - ask a wild question at the Commission midday, get a hot denial, then take home your prize: "EU denies ban on bendy bananas" or some such "denial" headline. This produced more heat than light; it helped sell newspapers and entrench an angry view of Brussels.

In today's climate, Eurosceptic voices are alive and well. The Commission's Euromyths blog is a contemporary roll call of willfully far-fetched EU coverage, like a kind of demented Buzzfeed for EU affairs. Stories like "Bavarian farmer puts diapers on his animals to get around EU ban on fertilisers" would make amusing coffee break stories, if they weren't so damaging to public opinion. This spring is set to be a hot period for all the wrong reasons.

Step up Europe's hard-working Ecodesign Directive, already no stranger to the Euromyths hall-of-fame. It has a lot going for it. These are rules that industry, consumers, member states and we green NGOs all agree are needed. They steer consumers away from over-powered, noisy, often poor quality imports, towards alternatives that do the same thing, at no extra cost, but for less energy. But because they come from Brussels and have a whiff of micro-management, they can get a bad name. Long-agreed measures to phase out inefficient vacuum cleaners was spun into "vacuumgate" in the UK.

The German zeitgeist still wrestles with the lightbulb ban, even as efficient bulbs make its decarbonisation mission easier; and more recently Italians could be heard choking on their toast as they read about EU plans to ban all double toasters, a classic Euromyth. This spring, the Commission may tighten up on wasteful taps and showers. While luxury hotels already use efficient, bubbly tap and shower technology, the rest of us will no doubt have to live with sensationalist "Who wants a bureaucrat in their bathroom" headlines that will slow the uptake of good technology.



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Dec 12th, 2014 at 03:37:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Symphysiotomy - Ireland's brutal alternative to caesareans | Life and style | The Guardian

Petrified and in agony, Mary had been subjected to a symphysiotomy - a controversial operation that was seldom used in the rest of Europe after the mid-20th century, but which was carried out on an estimated 1,500 women in Ireland between the 1940s and 1980s.

The procedure involves slicing through the cartilage and ligaments of a pelvic joint (or in extreme cases, called pubiotomy, sawing through the bone of the pelvis itself) to widen it and allow a baby to be delivered unobstructed.

Critics blame the continued use of the operation on a toxic mix of medical experimentation, Catholic aversion to caesarean sections and an institutional disregard for women's autonomy. They claim it has left hundreds of surviving women with life-long pain, disability and emotional trauma. For some in Ireland, it is yet another scandal perpetrated against women and girls, joining revelations over the Magdalene laundries (where "wayward" women were abused), the deaths of children at mother-and-baby homes and sex abuse in the Catholic church.

Not everyone agrees with this analysis: some doctors and historians argue that these criticisms fail to account for wider changes in medical culture. But this year the mothers who believe they were wronged finally got some encouraging news. In July, the UN Human Rights Committee called for the Irish government to hold an investigation into the issue. And last week saw the deadline pass for applications to the state's ex gratia redress scheme, which offered women who have been through the procedure compensation sums of between £40,000 and £120,000. More than 300 women are said to have applied.

Catholicism. Because there is no reason to wait for hell in the afterlife.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Fri Dec 12th, 2014 at 03:37:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
words fail me

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sat Dec 13th, 2014 at 01:11:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Russia doping claims: documentary maker prepared to make sequel | Sport | The Guardian

The German journalist whose documentary lifted the lid on claims of systematic doping in Russian athletics has said he is prepared to make a follow-up after receiving more evidence. Hajo Seppelt, whose three documentaries for ZDF/ARD alleged systemic doping and a cover up involving IAAF officials, said the undercover documentary had led others to come forward with evidence.

"We did not plan a sequel, however, people are sending us more and more evidence to back the claim that there is systematic doping in Russian sport," Seppelt told the Russian website Championat.com on Friday. "Therefore I do not want to categorically rule out such a move. If it is needed, we will film a second part."

Seppeld also praised the whistleblower Vitaly Stepanov, who formerly worked for Russia's anti-doping agency and was one of the main accusers in the programme. "He is an absolutely wonderful person. He is like the Edward Snowden in the world of sport. He wants to fight against doping," said Seppelt. "Vitaly was very convincing. He worked at Rusada to try and clean up the sport from illegal drugs. However, they covered up everything he was trying to do. Yulia Rusanova, who would become his wife, was also forced to take these tablets. He had no financial gain to make. He just wanted to tell the truth and be honest."

Seppelt also insisted that the evidence on a leaked list of more than 150 athletes with suspicious blood values, which included three British athletes, was more comprehensive than the IAAF had suggested. "The IAAF is trying to give the impression that all the details we had were individual blood values," he said. "That is simply not the case - there are several readings for each athlete."



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Dec 12th, 2014 at 03:37:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Chris Rock Pens Blistering Essay on Hollywood's Race Problem: "It's a White Industry" - The Hollywood Reporter
It's a white industry. Just as the NBA is a black industry. I'm not even saying it's a bad thing. It just is. And the black people they do hire tend to be the same person. That person tends to be female and that person tends to be Ivy League. And there's nothing wrong with that. As a matter of fact, that's what I want for my daughters. But something tells me that the life my privileged daughters are leading right now might not make them the best candidates to run the black division of anything. And the person who runs the black division of a studio should probably have worked with black people at some point in their life. Clint Culpepper [a white studio chief who specializes in black movies] does a good job at Screen Gems because he's the kind of guy who would actually go see Best Man Holiday. But how many black men have you met working in Hollywood? They don't really hire black men. A black man with bass in his voice and maybe a little hint of facial hair? Not going to happen. It is what it is.
by Bernard on Sun Dec 14th, 2014 at 02:00:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
French feminists protest 'gendered' toys on Xmas shelves - Europe News & Top Stories - The Straits Times

A group of feminists, some dressed as princesses and maids, briefly occupied a Paris toy shop Saturday to protest the gender stereotypes fuelled by toys in the run-up to Christmas.

Slamming the prevalence on store shelves of pink-clad dolls for girls and swords for boys the protesters urged shoppers to opt for gender-neutral gifts.

"The conditioning starts with toys," said Roselyne Segalen of the group Chiennes de Garde (Watch Dogs).

"Gendered toys such as science kits for little boys and tea sets and makeup for girls are shockingly regressive," she said.

On the same subject:

Toys are more gendered now than they were 50 years ago - Boing Boing

Before Reagan's FCC deregulated kids' TV and allowed toy-makers to produce 22-minute commercials disguised as cartoons, there had been major strides in de-gendering toys, grouping them by interest, rather than by constraining who was "supposed" to play with them.

Elizabeth Sweet, a postdoc at UC Davis, rounds up the research on how toys are marketed and presented as being exclusively for one gender or another (the Disney Store website only has "For boys" and "For girls" sections, with no toys presented as unisex at all). She traces the regressive trend to excluding children from toys based on gender to the deregulation of the 1980s.

It's an interesting codicil to Thomas Piketty's Capital in the 21st Century, which argues that most progressive, humane, and humanitarian rules arose in the post-war period, when the capital of the world's wealthiest had been eroded by two great wars, depriving the rich establishment of the power to exclusively rule government.

by Bernard on Sun Dec 14th, 2014 at 03:19:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Reminded me of that little girl who made the headline recently:

One pissed-off little shopper...

by Bernard on Sun Dec 14th, 2014 at 03:24:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
This reminds me of something. The Japanese version of animated and printed cartoons (anime and manga) have several genres, chiefly according to age group and gender. However, a significant part of the consumers of the most popular shounen genre (for teenage boys) are girls, what's more, some outstanding authors (like Hiromu Arakawa) are females who didn't like the constraints of the for-female genres.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Mon Dec 15th, 2014 at 02:02:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It's not just toys. Now a lot of things for children are strictly either blue or pink. When I was a little kid, these colours were rather rare on children's stuff. In clothes, white, khaki and multi-coloured striped/chequered stuff was much more widespread, and clothes could be 'inherited' from older brothers to younger sisters.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Mon Dec 15th, 2014 at 01:56:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]

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