Monday, October 03, 2005

Naked ambition

I was interested in seeing how the MSM was currently reporting on its anti-war darling, Mother Sheehan. So I chased that rabbit down the hole and one of the tunnels in the warren led me here (WARNING - there’s nauseating nudity).

That page was, however, only a way station on a convoluted trip that branched away from my original goal. It’s turns out that Ms. Sherry Glaser, the one in the first littlegreenfootballs picture who is shouting at passers-by while exposing her pendulous breasts, belongs to an organization called Breasts not Bombs. She and many of that organization’s female members apparently believe that exposing one’s breasts in public is the most expeditious way to draw attention to their anti-war “events.” Their protest happenings occur primarily in California in and around San Francisco (big surprise). I found numerous instances of this behavior (and, frankly, wished I hadn’t when pictures were provided), but one such case on June 30, 2005 in San Francisco stood out:

Members of the Breasts Not Bombs contingent, which included seven women, three men and two young girls, said the war in Iraq is indecent, not their nakedness.

"Boobies never hurt anyone," said Sherry Glaser…."

Several tourists said the protest irked them not because of the adults, but because Glaser's 9-year-old daughter and the girl's 10-year-old friend, were also bare-chested. The girls brought their half-naked dolls to the protest, too.

"I took a picture but made sure the girls weren't in the frame," said Matt Bigos of Boston, in town for his brother's wedding.

"You can't put that kind of picture on your computer these days ... you'll get busted. I really don't think it's right they have little girls without shirts."

Having your young female child strip to her waist in aid to your political protest has got to break some child abuse law, doesn’t it?

An aside

I’m still trying to figure out why Meredith May, the San Francisco Chronicle reporter covering the protest, felt the need to report on the size of the female protesters’ breasts. May made a point of reporting bra sizes and the fact that at least one “has never had her bust measured.”

Perhaps it was Ms. May’s subtle way of expressing the sentiment I recently saw on a T-shirt. The shirt was stretched across the amble bosom of a twenty-something blonde and read, “I wish these were brains.”

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Can’t get any because you think you’re:
too ugly or
too fat or

too skinny or

too tall or

too short or

too white or

too black or

too bald or

too hairy or

some combination thereof?

Not to worry.

Just move to Denmark and convince Stig Langvad (see below) that your physical appearance is a “condition that makes it difficult to engage in the activities of daily life” [Ed. one definition of disability]. And as anyone who’s ever been privy to a conversation between two or more teenage boys knows: sex, at which they are past masters, is a daily activity.

Convince Stig, and he’ll find you a hooker at the government’s expense.

Taxpayers foot bill for disabled Danes' visits to prostitutes

Stig Langvad, the chairman of the Danish Association for the Disabled, hailed the campaign as a triumph for equality. "Sexual frustration can be a major problem for the disabled, and in some cases the last solution is to visit a prostitute," he said. "Politicians can debate whether prostitution in general should be allowed, but if it is, why should the disabled be the only ones prevented from having access to it?"

Danish law guarantees financial help from the state to ensure the disabled lead as normal a life as possible. They are entitled to reclaim the cost of converting a car, or to claim a subsidy on an expensive hotel room if cheaper ones lack necessary facilities.

Now the regulations are being used to pay for visits to prostitutes after a disabled man - not named for legal reasons - won a legal action forcing officials to pay his expenses for the services of a call girl. Councils across Denmark have been left with no choice but to follow suit.

(Via Captain’s Quarters, where you’ll find more reasoned commentary)

Dim and Dimmer

It’s hard to determine who deserves which moniker here (the reporter is in the mix). This short report begs so many questions, perhaps a virtual reporter(VR) can get some answers.

We knew it was bound to happen'

By Verity Murphy
BBC News, New Orleans

"Its good to be home," Raymond Jones said as the plane from Austin, Texas touched down in New Orleans.

Like so many others [Jones] had fled the city in a hurry, taking little with him as he expected to be back in just a few days.

"It's my birthday on 27 August, the day before Katrina hit, so me and my girlfriend had been out to celebrate," he explained.

"Basically we had gone home and were asleep when my friend Sean phoned and said: 'Do you know how big this storm that's coming is? Haven't you seen the reports? You need to get out now!'"

"So we just packed two changes of clothes and left."

VR: The trajectory and intensity of the coming storm had been known and broadcast for several days before it hit, where were you and what were you doing in that timeframe?

VR: When you went out to celebrate your birthday the night before the storm hit, did you and your girlfriend notice the boarded up store fronts and see that the area was nearly deserted? If so, what, if anything went through your minds as you processed this information?

VR: You came back to New Orleans from Austin, Texas by plane. How did you get to Houston, Texas when you evacuated New Orleans? Another plane?

The couple spent a week and a half in Galveston, but heard that in order to qualify for the help Fema was offering Katrina's victims they would have to get into one of the official relief shelters.

So they travelled up to Austin and moved into a shelter at the city's Convention Centre for three days.

Once there Jane and Raymond were given spare underwear and a box for their meagre possessions, as well as food stamps and the $2,000 (£1,130) cheque that the evacuees are each being given by Fema to help them get back on their feet.
VR: What do you and your girlfriend do for a living? What are your occupations? Austin is over 200 miles from Galveston, how did you get to Austin to collect the $2,000.00? Now that you're back in New Orleans, do you expect to find work here?

But as far as Raymond is concerned the experience at the shelter was something they both could really have done without.

"They didn't know what they were doing. It was basically three days of queuing," Raymond said. "Three days with no privacy surrounded by the noise of everyone else there."

Now after weeks of sleeping on a friend's floor Raymond is finally being allowed back into his house in the Uptown area of New Orleans.
VR: I can’t imagine how harrowing it was to be without privacy and exposed to the drone of the survivors, were you traumatized? Incidentally, what level of service had you anticipated getting at a disaster relief shelter?

"Everyone in New Orleans has known for years that the levees would not hold if we took a direct hit," he said. "If we all knew it, how come the politicians didn't?"

VR: If you were so acutely aware of the dangers, why did you continue to live in New Orleans? Did you vote for the current mayor and governor, and their predecessors? Do you vote?

Patrick Callahan, who is returning to the newly opened Algiers area of the city, is similarly bitter.

"I have lived in New Orleans my whole life and we always knew it wouldn't even withstand a category three," he said. "We knew that if we ever did get a direct hit it would be really, really bad and that going to the Superdome would be a very bad idea."

"I am just a resident. If the residents knew it, why didn't they?"
VR: At the risk of sounding like a broken record, if you were so acutely aware of the dangers, why did you continue to live in New Orleans? Did you vote for the current mayor and governor, and their predecessors? Do you vote?

Many have been critical of the city's poor, unemployed residents and the drain they make on the US welfare system, a view which has appalled Patrick.

"You know when people in America want to party, to have a good time; they all just love New Orleans," he said. "But now we need their help, they complain about us being a welfare state."
VR: The connection between New Orleans being a party destination and the fact that a quarter of its population of 450,000 live in poverty is unclear to me. Are you saying that sightseeing in poverty-stricken neighborhoods is part of the allure of New Orleans, part of its charm?

VR: (turning to Verity Murphy) I’m interested in doing a follow-up on the ” many [who] have been critical of the city's poor.” As a favor, one journalist to another, would you mind sharing your notes on that with me?