“Diplomatic immunity” must be abolished everywhere

Read this story:

Equatorial Guinea argues luxury Paris mansion was part of embassy when raided

THE HAGUE (Reuters) – Equatorial Guinea argued on Monday that a luxury mansion in central Paris used by the son of the country’s president was protected by diplomatic immunity when it was raided by French authorities in 2012.

The case at the International Court of Justice is seen as a test for the limits of the 1961 Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Immunity, which shields government officials from prosecution abroad.

Equatorial Guinea launched the case in 2016 after the residence of Teodorin Obiang on the grand Avenue Foch was raided as part of a corruption investigation that resulted in a conviction for embezzlement, confirmed last week.

The conviction came after a collection of 25 supercars he owned, including a Ferrari Enzo and a Bugatti Veyron, were confiscated by the Geneva prosecutor’s office under a deal ending a money-laundering inquiry. The cars fetched nearly 27 million Swiss francs ($27 million) at auction in September.

Obiang, 50, is the son of President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, who has ruled Equatorial Guinea, a former Spanish colony, for more than three decades.

A representative for Equatorial Guinea told the court’s judges on Monday that the luxury apartment, in one of the most expensive neighborhoods in the world, had been bought by the African nation in 2011 and was part of its embassy.

“France has refused to recognize the diplomatic pretext of the building under the false pretence it belongs to the private domain”, ambassador Carmelo Nvono Nca, Equatorial Guinea’s agent, told the judges.

In coming days France will present its side before the United Nation’s highest court for disputes between states. A ruling is expected later this year.

In earlier hearings the French argued Equatorial Guinea was attempting to shield Obiang, known for posting pictures of his glamorous lifestyle on Instagram, by retroactively adding his opulent 101-room home to its diplomatic mission.

Police raided Obiang’s residence as part of a corruption investigation, eventually seizing 100 million euros worth of assets including paintings by Renoir and Degas and another fleet of luxury vehicles.

Obiang was convicted last week by a French court of embezzlement of public funds and ordered to pay a 30 million euro ($33 million) fine.

Diplomatic immunity in any case is a concept by which officials representing a country are allowed to openly violate the laws of another country while living there.  It is a form of disrespect for the second country’s government and the people there that are subject to those laws. A basic standard of ethics and justice is that NO ONE should be above the law.

And this is not about some young idiot that didn’t know that he was doing wrong.

Obiang, 50, is the son of President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, who has ruled Equatorial Guinea, a former Spanish colony, for more than three decades.

Being 50 myself, I know damn well if I were not the son of a ruler who has been in power for far too long, there would be no question of me being imprisoned for my crimes. This case angers me too!

I hope the International Court of Justice rejects this appeal and ultimately abolishes the concept of diplomatic immunity completely. And also that the people of Equatorial Guinea themselves rise up and force their corrupt leader into retirement, and also prevent his son from ever ruling. Sheesh!

 

Kobe Bryant, rape allegations, and a Disney heiress

Here’s a story that emerged in the wake of Kobe Bryant’s tragic death in a helicopter crash last month. Among those killed with him was his 13 year old daughter.

https://www.businessinsider.com/kobe-bryant-abigail-disney-rape-allegations-not-a-god

Disney heiress says Kobe Bryant ‘was not a god’ in lengthy Twitter thread about rape allegations

abigail disney

Abigail Disney spoke out about Bryant’s rape allegations Saturday.

Disney heiress Abigail Disney addressed the rape allegations against late NBA star Kobe Bryant in a 24-tweet thread on Saturday that urged people to avoid turning Bryant into a god.

The 60-year-old, who is the granddaughter of Roy O. Disney — a cofounder of the Walt Disney Company — had in a tweet January 29 shared an op-ed from the Washington Post about allegations Bryant faced some 17 years ago, writing “The man was a rapist. Deal with it.”

On February 1, the Disney heiress, who has a net worth of over $120 million, doubled down on her previous statement, offering new commentary on Bryant, who died January 26 in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, California.  

“OK, time to bite the bullet and say something,” Disney said when she began her Twitter thread early Saturday morning. “If you don’t like it, just stop following. First of all, yes, it IS my business because I’m a woman who has herself been assaulted and spent my life knowing, loving and feeling for women for whom it’s been so much worse.” 

At the onset of the thread, Disney offered praise for Bryant amid her discussion of the rape allegations, noting that a person can do both good and bad things in their lifetime. “I mourn Kobe too,” she wrote. “He went on to be a man who seemed genuinely to want to do good. The face[sic] that he raped someone does not change any of these other facts.”

As The New York Times reported, the allegations stem from Bryant’s 2003 a trip to Colorado for an operation on his knee. Byrant reportedly asked a concierge at the spa where he was staying for a private tour. Following the tour, he invited her to his room where they began kissing. Bryant had said what followed was consensual sex, though his accuser said she was raped. 

Court documents revealed the woman had bruises on her neck and tears on her vaginal wall, The New York Times reported. While the case never went to trial, reportedly over the accusers’ refusal to testify, a lawsuit between Bryant and the accuser resulted in an undisclosed settlement.  

Bryant later apologized to his accuser. 

“Although I truly believe this encounter between us was consensual,” he said in a statement, “I recognize now that she did not and does not view this incident the same way I did.”

Disney went on to compare the allegations against Bryant to a drunk driver killing a person. “Does his lack of intention absolve him of responsibility for the death?,” Disney asked. “If he said he wasn’t that drunk or didn’t know he was drunk, or didn’t mean to kill the person, or is really really really sorry, does any of this absolve him?”

“Of course not,” she added in the next tweet. 

Disney’s final takeaway: don’t worship the NBA star. 

“So yes, we should mourn him,” Disney said. “We should mourn his daughter and his family and all the other lives lost on the helicopter. It was horrible. But don’t deify him because he was not a god. That’s all. Just don’t deify him”.

There has been a flood of discourse since Bryant’s death over whether his 2003 rape allegations should be revisited as the world mourns the basketball star’s tragic death. The Washington Post received backlash when it suspended a reporter for sharing an article about the 2003 case on Twitter after Bryant’s death. The DC newspaper would later walk back its decision to suspend the reporter, saying her tweets did not violate WaPo policy. Still, it said her tweets were “ill-timed.” 

The reactions to Disney’s two-dozen tweets were largely negative. 

“Breaking: bored heiress of a multimedia empire has nothing better to do on a Wednesday because her life is completely empty & meaningless,” one Twitter user said in a tweet that was retweeted more than 120 times. 

Not all of the reactions to Disney’s thread were negative, however.

“What a thoughtful thread,” one person tweeted. “Thank you for writing it. I have seen the way that fierce emotional identification and defense of abusive behavior can happen with sports figures.”

Abigail Disney did not return Business Insider’s request for comment.

Here are my responses to that story:

  1. Kobe Bryant was ACCUSED of rape, but he was never brought to trial, let alone convicted. From a strictly legal standpoint, he is NOT a rapist, so calling him one, especially when he is dead and cannot defend himself from that charge, might as well be called SLANDER.
  2. It is entirely possible that the supposed victim was an opportunist who after having sex with Bryant proceeded to sue him in an effort to get money out of him. This is why, even if the sex was indeed consensual, KOBE BRYANT WAS AN IDIOT TO HAVE AN AFFAIR.
  3. Bryant had four daughters at the time of his death and I’m sure they would have been shocked at the idea of their father raping anyone. That’s a bigger issue to me than his celebrity sports status. Sometimes it is better to let dead dogs decay.
  4. Abigail Disney’s personal wealth was completely irrelevant to the issue, so why mention it? If she had been homeless and not even related to Walt Disney at all, the issue would have been the same.
  5. Sports figures ARE glorified and thus are largely shielded by their own fans from their reputation being damaged by accusations of wrongdoing. We saw that to some extent with O J Simpson, who was a football star early in his life. To this day, I think Simpson got away with murder because he was a rich celebrity; a poor man would have been convicted and sent to prison for life.
  6. Yes, point 5 does seem to contradict point 1. Maybe someday I will have a more consistent ethical position, but for now I have to keep thinking about the matters more. I just feel that one mistake made by a man shouldn’t destroy his life…..unless that mistake destroys other lives. Murder is far worse than rape or adultery. And all people make mistakes.

 

An Open Letter to the New President of the Unitarian Universalist Association

The Rev. Susan Frederick-Gray

UUA General Assembly - Plenary V

To the Rev. Susan Frederick-Gray,

Congratulations on your election to the leadership of the most liberal religious group in the world descended from Christianity. After the embarrassing end to the last Presidency several months ago, the slate has been wiped clean for you to add your own accomplishments, and perhaps mistakes, to it.

The most important thing I think you need to do in order to revitalize the UUA as a religious organization is to confront and completely dismantle deeply entrenched anti-Christian bigotry in it. As long as people outside the UUA see it as a place for atheists, pagans, and left-wing extremists, but not for Christians, the UUA will never be seen as a viable choice for those of Christian background who want to abandon and reject fundamentalist bigotry but still feel a spiritual orientation to the religion they knew as children and still have love for. Not everyone benefits from having their faith destroyed. As long as it is modified to be more realistic and inclusive for others, that should be enough.

Even though you are white, your being a woman should give you some idea of how you and others around the world may be discriminated against. Keep in mind that while black men got the right to vote in the USA after the Civil War, it was not until 1920 that women of all colors were also granted the right to vote as well. We must always strive to LEAVE NO ONE BEHIND including transgender people! I was deeply disappointed to learn that white men were still treated with favoritism in the UUA and am more than happy to see that the process of confronting unthinking racial biases among us is happening at last. It was indeed long overdue!

We must work harder over the next several decades to make Unitarian Universalism the next great world religion and that can happen when we speak out loudly about it. No longer must we think of ourselves as an “American” religion, but we must try to build up Unitarian bodies in other areas, including places where it was popular before. You should certainly endorse as much as possible the Church of the Larger Fellowship, using it a a vehicle for global UU evangelism, and the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee, which actually does good works in the world. The UUSC is the closest thing we have to missionary work and we need more of that!

As I see it, the version of the Baha’i Faith led by the Universal House of Justice in Haifa, Israel is the UUA’s most direct rival, having some values in common, but also some critical differences that make it necessary to draw clear distinctions between the two religions. Baha’i values were similar to those of the Unitarians and Universalists about a century ago, but since then it has degenerated into a cult of extreme dogmatism that makes it a threat to unsuspecting souls looking for a new spiritual home after leaving one they no longer feel comfortable in. The best way to counter the Haifan Baha’is is to establish or at least officially endorse a sub-division within the UUA for Baha’is who wish to think for themselves instead of being mentally enslaved to a body consisting literally of nine old men. There is already such a small community that the internet has made possible, it just needs some support. For more details, see:    http://unitarianbahai.angelfire.com/   and also:

http://unitarianbahais.blogspot.com/

With the election last year of the worst President the USA has ever had, we as UUs have a moral obligation to revive the spirit of civil disobedience pioneered by civil rights protesters in the past. Unless and until we are willing to be imprisoned for our ideals, they mean nothing. Together, we can change things for the better and in the process gain many new converts who want a refuge from the madness of right-wing politics. Even in “red” states like Oklahoma and Texas, UU churches thrive.

Please consider creating a cable TV channel devoted to Unitarian Universalist programming. We already have a strong presence on YouTube, so such a channel is the next logical step. For ideas on what content we can make for it, look at the example of Democracy Now. Of course, that is liberal politics, but where is a channel for liberal RELIGION?

The UUA must look into forming strong alliances with other liberal religious groups, and not just the United Church of Christ, the UUA’s closest spiritual relative. Also join with non-religious groups like the American Humanist Association that are not so infested with anti-religious extremism and other forms of bigotry that they are a disgrace to humanity. Many feminists and non-white people that may be attracted to atheism find themselves repulsed by bigots who are also well-known atheists in social media. We can provide them an alternative.

I wish you the best of luck over the next six years.

Dale Husband, the Honorable Skeptic

The costs of slavery

Until the American Civil War ended, slavery was a common institution in the United States. Often portrayed as cheap, it still had costs associated with it. These included:

1. Obtaining the slaves: They were often kidnapped from Africa and shipped across the Atlantic Ocean under cramped conditions. That cost money. The slave trade was eventually abolished long before slavery ended, but that had the effect of making the slaves already in America more valuable.

2. Buying the slaves.

3. Giving the slaves food, water, clothing and shelter.

4. Treating the slaves of illnesses and injuries.

4. Guarding the slaves to prevent them from revolting or escaping.

5. Burying or cremating the slaves after they died.

Now compare that with people who work today at minimum wage. If you can only afford food to feed yourself and your children, a place to live at, medical expenses, and to pay for your funeral when you die, how are you any better off, materially speaking, than slaves 200 years ago?

And if you wonder why some want the minimum wage increased, that is why!

How NOT to rape someone

Here are some rules for men who do not want to be accused of raping a woman:

1. ALWAYS ask the women directly during a date in a private setting, “Do you want to have sex with me?”   If her response is anything other than, “Yes,” drop the issue and do not bring it up again until she does.

2. Never talk about the experience of having sex with anyone other than a licensed therapist, your parents or other guardians (if you are underaged), or a clergyperson in a counseling session. PRIVATE MATTERS MUST REMAIN PRIVATE. Other men do not need to know how you “banged that hot chick last night”.

3. The claim that women claim to be raped because they regret having sex with a man long after the fact is simply self-serving bullshit. Do not repeat that claim, ever.

4. Even if you use protection or any form of birth control, PROMISE the woman that if she gets pregnant, you will either support the child or pay for an abortion, whichever she decides.

5. Do not merely be a woman’s sex partner…..be her LOVER. Be willing to share in anything she does or is involved in or ask her to share in things you enjoy. If you do not want a complete relationship with a woman, you can always masturbate by yourself.

6. Unless your partner is a porn star, you do not need to take or possess nude pics of her. And NEVER post them online!

That is all for now.  If I think of more, or if you have your own suggestions for rules, this list will be added to.

Is this Justice?

Consider the following scenario:

An African-American restaurant owner in New York City learns that one of his white employees was born in Alabama.  He calls that employee to his office.

Owner: “Is it true you came from Alabama, a southern state?”

Employee:  “Yes. But I moved to New York four years ago.”

Owner:  “Then you are FIRED!  I won’t have racists working for me. More than half of our customers are African-American and I won’t risk you offending them with racist remarks.”

Employee: “What?! But have I done anything wrong?  If I was a racist, I would not be here!”

Owner:  “I used to live in the south. And virtually every white person I dealt with there was racist, constantly looking down on me and other black kids. I finally got out of that situation, and I’ll be damned if the bigotry follows me up here.”

Employee: “Well, don’t you think I am also sick of the bigotry of my fellow whites? I also left the south to live here because of the culture. YOU are the one being racist against ME because of both my skin color and where I was born.  I’m not responsible for either of those things!”

Owner: “You still benefited from the racism you grew up in, just as I suffered from it. Now you are going to learn how it feels to be discriminated against!  GET OUT!”

Rape, School Sports and Small Town Insanity

P Z Myers put the spotlight on a teenage rapist yesterday:

http://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2013/10/14/matthew-barnett-sleazebag-and-rapist

The story is sadly typical of small towns and their pathetic bigotries, but what really drew my attention later was a comment below it. (Emphasis mine.)

http://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2013/10/14/matthew-barnett-sleazebag-and-rapist/comment-page-1/#comment-705351

39
MarkM1427

15 October 2013 at 1:04 am (UTC -5)

Anonymous? That scumbag will wish he only had the cops to deal with. If only they’d go after the media for not calling this shit what it is: an inexcusable, unforgivable act of violence against another human being. I didn’t see a word of this until ThinkProgress shared it on Facebook. I wonder why no one else seems to give a shit about the actual victims here. Ever since I first read this story it’s been stuck in the back of my head. It obviously pisses me off, but it also hits close to home in several ways for me.

As outraged as I am about this, I’m not at all surprised. It’s not the first time I’ve heard about a small town demonizing the victims who dared to put the town through the trauma of dealing with the fact that a heinous crime happened in their neighborhood instead of, you know, the actual criminal. A similar story of what happened to my grandmother has stuck with my family for nearly 50 years. (I’m not going to derail the thread with the whole story, but a small town covered up the murder of her mother since the guy who did it was close to powerful people in the town.) Why can’t this shit ever change?

And this has finally done it. I thought I would never say this, but I can’t go on believing that athletic programs are a positive influence for students. Even though I benefited from sports myself, I can’t support them anymore. I was an athlete in high school, and to this day I believe that being part of the football team did a lot to make me more social then. I have Asperger’s and I might not have as much as spoken a word the whole four years if I didn’t join one group or another. For so long I defended these sports programs as something that could be a great influence on the athletes if the coaches actually gave a damn about that like the ones I had did.

But no more. I now see that my experience was the exception, not the rule. School sports, much like religion, corrupts the adults who are involved in it, you know, the ones that are supposed to ACT LIKE ADULTS. If sports programs warp peoples’ minds to the point that they are consistently willing to enable rape by athletes in the name of winning a fucking ball game, they are toxic to society and we should cast them out of schools.

I don’t intend to derail the thread with the tangent I know I went off on, but this story has had my mind spinning faster than a centrifuge ever since I read it. I can’t wait for the town to finally have the wrath of the rest of the country descend on them for the scumbags they are.

And that led me to ask what, if anything, do sports programs have to do with the actual process of education? Nothing that I can see. Yet almost every school and college out there has a sports program which no doubt costs money to maintain. Perhaps it is time to start putting pressure on schools to eliminate funding for sports programs before they even think of eliminating anything else from a school’s budget!

An Open Letter to President Barack Obama

To Barack Obama, the President of the United States of America:

The Affordable Care Act is the LAW OF THE LAND, passed by both Houses of Congress (yes, even the Republican controlled House of Representatives), signed by you, and affirmed as constitutional by the U. S. Supreme Court. Therefore, attempts by Republicans in Congress to DEFUND what is federal law is criminal behavior, just as disobedience to any other law is criminal behavior. We should allow no exceptions here. By engaging in criminal behavior, the Republicans sitting in Congress, even going so far as to shut down the government rather allow what is federal law to be funded have forfeited their right to be representatives of the people, like anyone else who commits a federal crime. I call upon you, as the elected Chief Executive of the United States, to direct the Department of Justice to issue arrest warrants against every Republican in Congress and charge them all with CONSPIRACY TO COMMIT SEDITION! END THE GOVERNMENT SHUTDOWN BY REMOVING THE ONES RESPONSIBLE FROM OFFICE NOW!

Dale Husband, the Honorable Skeptic

300 teens should be LOCKED UP!

I find this incredible!

http://msn.foxsports.com/nfl/story/brian-holloway-former-nfl-star-reacts-teens-trash-house-twitter-091813

Ex-NFL player reacts to trashed house

An estimated 300 teenagers threw a party at the house of Brian Holloway over Labor Day weekend, authorities say, causing a reported $20,000 in damage to the property of the former New England Patriots and Los Angeles Raiders left tackle.

That sentence might normally make Holloway sound like the coolest irresponsible uncle ever, except there’s a catch: Holloway spends most of his time these days in Florida and wasn’t at the Stephentown, N.Y., vacation home at the time of the rager.

Continue reading

Random thoughts about the George Zimmerman/Treyvon Martin case

1. Since both the victim and the defendant in the case were male, why was there an all female jury? How is that different from an all-white jury judging a black person having killed another black person?

2. It does not matter who attacked whom first, the fact remains that Treyvon Martin was unarmed and George Zimmerman had a gun, giving him an overwhelming advantage. The fact that Martin was shot in the heart shows that Zimmerman meant to kill him, rather than merely disable him to stop the fight. He should have been convicted of manslaughter, at least.

3. “Stand your ground” laws might as well be called “permission to use violence as a first option rather than a last resort”. What do we call societies in which that is commonly accepted? Barbaric anarchies, which America should be anything but!

4. The jury probably did not want to convict Zimmerman of anything because doing so would have been a virtual death sentence for him. He’d go to a prison, and prisons across the USA are known to have a disproportionate number of African-American men, most of whom would be more than happy to kill Zimmerman. A possible solution would have been to sentence Zimmerman to house arrest for many years instead of prison. Indeed, why not sentence most convicted felons to house arrest instead of prison?

5. Neighborhood watch groups are supposed to call the police and alert them to possible crimes being committed as they occur, not take the law into their own hands like Zimmerman clearly did!

6. I was just as outraged when O. J. Simpson was found not guilty of those murder charges he faced. It makes NO difference to me whether a person of any race gets off after killing a person of any race.

7. Treyvon Martin’s family could still sue Zimmerman for wrongful death of the victim. Unlike criminal trials where the prosecution is expected to prove a case beyond a reasonable doubt, civil court cases are decided based on how much the evidence is weighed on each side. By that standard, Zimmerman should lose badly, just as O J Simpson did.

Laci Green condemns “witch hunts”

This is the direct sequel to

https://dalehusband.wordpress.com/2012/07/10/a-death-threat-against-laci-green/

At the time, I assumed she was being attacked by people who were against her being an atheist and/or hated her sex positive stand. I later learned that she was being attacked by transgendered people and others because she had used the word “tranny” which they considered offensive. Continue reading

A Brilliant Statement About Gay Marriage

A friend of mine, Michelle Parsneau, made the following extraordinary public statement about the issue of gay marriage:

https://www.facebook.com/michelle.parsneau

https://www.facebook.com/michelle.parsneau/posts/4332476863607

For all those who talk about “traditional marriage based on the Bible”…

Now would that be Abraham and Sarah (half siblings), Jacob, Rachel and Leah, (not only bigamy but also cousins), David who loved Jonathan “better than any woman” and had multiple wives, or Solomon with his 300 wives and 900 concubines, or the one where a raped virgin is now ‘married’ to her rapist? Biblical marriage has never been one kind only, nor are all of them particularly just constructs.

At the end of the day, a marriage in the U.S. is a legal, civil contract. We only give pastors and religious leaders the courtesy of having the power to perform those ceremonies with legal binding. Preventing two adults from entering into that contract of their own accord based on gender is discrimination, and is not Constitutional, nor is it an American value.

In Minnesota, gay/lesbian marriage is currently illegal already. Can’t bring yourself to vote NO on the amendment? Then, I respectfully ask that you refrain from voting on that issue, as it is only mean spirited and discriminatory to vote for it. Utilizing empathy would be a good way to evaluate this issue.

I want to live in a country and a state that practices full equality as well as freedom of and from religion. Nothing in the idea of gay/lesbian marriage will force people of any religious faith to do anything against their faith. Concerned that pastors and clergy people will be forced to perform marriages they don’t agree with? Get over yourself. They aren’t forced to perform marriages for anyone they don’t like now. How do I know? A narrow-minded pastor who didn’t like what he thought were weaknesses in Kevin and my faith refused to marry us. Of course, he was wrong and 15 years has pretty concretely proven that one. Am I saying that religious leaders can be wrong? Um, hell yes I am. They are just as human as the rest of us.

I want that statement to be seen everywhere!

Andrew Breitbart is Dead

Conservative media activist and trickster Andrew Breitbart died today at the age of 43. As far as I’m concerned,  that was simply justice after all the contemptible lies he told using media manipulation to advance his right-wing agenda, which I see as itself dishonorable. He was even responsible for the unjustified downfall of ACORN shortly after Barack Obama became President, which ACORN had helped get elected.

I think we need to do what we can to either reestablish ACORN or replace it with a simular organization. I only regret that Breitbart will not live to see that happen. But there are plenty of other Republican bigots out there we can seek to punish! Their day of reckoning will come if we just have enough backbone to go after them and make them pay!

Reform the U N Security Council!

The structure of the United Nations (UN) reflects the political realities shortly after World War II. Since that war ended nearly three generations ago, it’s time for a change in the UN, starting with its Security Council. Until such reforms are made, it will only be a laughingstock for decades to come.

UN Reform

There are five permanent members of that Council: The United States, Russia, France, Great Britain, and China. These have veto power over all Council decisions. I would recommend that the veto power within the Council be done away with; it only makes paralysis of the Council more likely than not. I would also recommend that Germany, Japan, India, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, and Brazil be made permanent members of the Council, with at least 20 others subject to election. The number of nations on the Security Council must always be a prime number to prevent tie votes. Only the UN Secretary-General could veto a UN resolution, but his veto could still be overridden by a two-thirds majority vote of the Security Council. In any case, no single nation should have the power to veto a resolution, because as the chart above shows, the Soviet Union abused that power more than any other nation in the early years of the UN. One wonders how many innocent people died in wars or armed uprisings of one kind or another because of this.

Dentists, sex dolls and pedophiles, oh my!

This story, and variations of it, are all over the web now:

http://www.cnngo.com/tokyo/life/japanese-turn-sex-doll-dental-training-robot-976056

Japanese turn sex doll into dental-training robot

Tokyo university reveals realistic synthi-patient, claims “root canal” gags play no part in its appeal
By Mark Hiratsuka 1 July, 2011

Tokyo frequently presents a story that’s borderline fiction — sex dolls for cavity-filling practice, puhlease — but the pedigree of the new Hanako Showa 2 dental training robot tells us this is no product of a fevered imagination.

We previously saw big sister, plain Jane Hanako Showa, in early 2010, noting that the synthetic patient was being used in the Showa University dental school for more than simple caries-evacuation practice on her plumbed-in dentures.

That model even incorporated the concept of being female simply so junior dentists could learn not to accidentally fondle her breasts. We kid you not.

Silicone sheath

So, a year and a half later, little sis makes her bow sheathed not in her sibling’s PVC skin, but lifelike silicone, and sporting a host of internal modifications besides.

Hanako 2 genuinely is based on a Dutch Wife-style love doll from Orient Industry in Tokyo’s Taito Ward — trust us, you don’t want to click that link at work — giving her a head start in the “realistic” stakes.

Aside from the human-feel skin on her face, mouth and tongue, she also contains robotics that allow her to mimic a range of motions, including sneezing and gagging when clumsy trainees dip their instruments too far into her gullet.

Talkative, ain’t she?

Hanako 2 also has the gift of the gab and can chat with her human companions about how she’s feeling, what ails her and, probably, how she can manage to speak with all that medical metal in her face.

Japan being Japan, there’s clearly no scope for the tried-and-trusted medical school technique of pulling passersby in off the street for a free “checkup.”

Rather, Tokyo’s finest would-be dentists get to grapple with a chimera created originally for self-gratification, but packed instead with cutting-edge robotics and put to work in the name of a nation’s oral health. It’s a beautiful thing.

My first reaction to this was, “Wow, here’s another example of Japanese technical wizardry being put to a good use! It’s certain better to train dentists with dolls that can react like real patients than with real patients that might be injured or infected due to a mistake.” Continue reading

A critique of the Declaration of Independence.

United States Declaration of Independence

United States Declaration of Independence (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Declaration of Independence here refers to the document drafted and signed in 1776 declaring the separation of 13 colonies along the Atlantic coast of North America from the British Empire. It is indeed one of the greatest writings ever made in human history…..but that hardly means it is flawless. Indeed, in this age it may be considered obsolete and merit some serious criticism. I will post text from it in red and my critiques of it in green. Continue reading

Osama Bin Ladin is no more.

After nearly ten years of hysteria over what happened on Sept. 11, 2001 (9-11), we finally killed the terrorist leader who was behind it. Some thoughts on that:

  1. We were fighting a war on Al-Quida, which is not a nation state. Wars normally end when an enemy nation’s capital is conquered and its leadership is captured or killed. But Al-Quida has no capital and anyone could rise to be its leader in the future. Even Bin Ladin’s death will not end the War on Terrorism; it will only end when the American people stand up and DEMAND that their government end it. That should start happening NOW!
  2. Bush Jr could have gotten Bin Ladin six or seven years earlier if he had not diverted resources from the campaigns in Afghanistan to fighting Iraq over claims of Weapons of Mass Destruction that turned out to be total falsehoods.
  3. Indeed, the simple fact that the dictatorships of both Tunisia and Egypt were brought down by popular revolts means that attempts to overthrow a government from the outside is illegitimate if that government is not even at war with other states. The Iraq War that started in 2003 was a criminal act of  aggression by the United States. If any other nation had pulled such a stunt against a weaker rival, it would have been seen from the start as opportunistic imperialism. Why should America be given a free pass to be so hypocritical?
  4. We still have dozens of prisoners at Gitmo. Those that have not been charged with any crimes should be released immediately and sent back to their home countries. There is no excuse for holding such people without scheduling trials for them all. That is simply not the American way.

Haitians are no smarter than Americans

It seems that like Americans, who were foolish enough to elect Republicans back into control of the House of Representatives last year after all the incredibly corrupt and stupid things they did from 2001 to 2008 when they were in power, Haitians have a short memory and a willingness to trade away their freedom and ethical standards for both security and prosperity that may be promised them. They have learned nothing from their own history!

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20110117/ap_on_re_la_am_ca/cb_haiti_ex_dictator_returns

Continue reading

They should remake the Hindenburg movie

In 1975, a movie was made depicting the Hindenburg disaster. It was directed by Robert Wise and starred George C Scott. With such talent, it should have been a masterpiece. Instead, it became known as a farce.

Too much of the movie was fictional and even inaccurate, including the unsupported claim that a crew member planted a bomb on the airship. The crew member was given a different name (Karl Boerth) but in the book the movie was loosely based on, the crew member is identified as Eric Spehl, who was actually at the nose of the Hindenburg and was burned to death.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Hindenburg_%28film%29

Continue reading

Attacking homophobia and bullying in the Fort Worth City Council

Having lived in the Fort Worth area all my life, I was never prouder of that than I was when I saw this video on YouTube. For the people of Texas, there is hope for greater enlightenment as long as people like Joel Burns and myself are around!

Such courage may cause him to be voted out of office, but it may also lead to a revolution. Let us keep up the pressure to stop the hate, the violence and the ignorance.

I’ll add this much older voice to Mr Burns’ as well:

Because bigotry is evil no matter where it comes from, and even if religion or social standards support it.

Neo-Nazis on YouTube

One of the more ironic features about the internet is that is allows people with hateful beliefs to find each other, link up, and strengthen their sense of community. To my shock I found Neo-Nazis have infiltrated YouTube!

Look at this video:

The comments below it include:

teilhaus

It would be infinitely better than what we have now, that’s for sure.

TBow009

@UltimateDarkloid Im not interested in dominating the world. Im interested in making a homeland for white people in order to have a place for them to be free of jew persecution. White Nationalism….Hitler was a jackass and I wish he was assassinated in 1939 before he invaded Poland and later Russia….Then Europe would have been jew free. Jews have been using immigration and mescegination along with their banking/lending practices to destroy whites with race mixing and the Nazis stopped it…
What a strange statement. But it gets worse.
 
TBow009

@NextLife77 Wrong…Jews were forcing Liberalism, feminism, immigration of non whites, mescegination, they wanted to import blacks and other non whites into Europe to destroy the German people…Jews are a plague on all mankind..
AppleUploader

@smart4176 not all were bad you dumb ass, some were just normal soldiers and they fought for their country NOT for Hitler, like an example is that I would have fought for Wehrmacht but that doesn’t make me a Jew killer, that only makes me a german soldier that’s all dying under germany and the iron cross
Actually, ALL german soldiers in World War II were expected to fight for Hitler. See this:
The Neo-Nazis and their allies on YouTube include:
There are many others. We need to stand against this evil. Memories of World War II and the Holocaust have long ago faded and two new generations have grown up that only know them as historical events, and thus may be seduced by “revisionists” who want to deny the holocaust and claim that the Nazis were not so bad or that their cause was somehow justified. It wasn’t and we need to remember what the world suffered and to fight for justice and equality. Equality of Jews with Gentiles does not imply loss of power for the Gentiles. Equality is simply letting ALL people live with the same opportunities and to be at peace with each other. Let it be so.

It’s not a whitewash, you denialist bastards!

Remember when I noted the Climategate issue? I first mentioned Isaac Newton and how some of his ideas and actions were highly questionable, but since the ideas he got right proved useful enough, his wrongdoings were overlooked. No one today screams “WHITEWASH!” over that.

It was the e-mail hacker who committed a crime, remember?

https://dalehusband.wordpress.com/2009/11/23/climategate-what-it-really-means/

Thus we have now seen the depths the denialists will go to attack their targets; most of them are willing to commit crimes and/or condone those crimes committed by others to advance their cause. Yet they have the gall to demand that, on the basis of the stolen e-mails, the writers of the e-mails should by charged with fraud and imprisoned. That is sheer hypocrisy.

And as far as I know, no serious effort has been made to track down and jail whoever pulled that stunt.

Meanwhile, the scientists who were targeted have had to endure hearings on the issue. Their work has been scruntinized and their motives questioned. And the results have been as follows:

http://live.psu.edu/story/47378

http://www.essc.psu.edu/essc_web/news/MannInquiryStatement.html

http://climateprogress.org/wp-content/uploads/2010/03/HC387-IUEAFinalEmbargoedv21.pdf

http://www.cce-review.org/pdf/FINAL%20REPORT.pdf

http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2010/07/the-muir-russell-report/

So a few stolen e-mails were dissected last year, some statements within them were taken out of context and their meanings distorted and this was supposed to be the big scandal that would bring  down the movement against global warming? Such cherry picking is typical of denialists, but that is not the way science should ever be run. In the end, the climatologists have been let off the hook and allowed to resume their work. Hopefully, reforms will be made to make the process of sharing data more open and transparent, but that must be through legal means.

Climategate is a dead issue now. Let’s bury it and move on!

Bill O vs Keith O, Part 2

This is the direct sequel to this earlier blog entry:

https://dalehusband.wordpress.com/2009/08/11/the-feud-between-keith-olbermann-and-bill-oreilly/

The feud between these TV news titans came to a head on June 1, 2009. The previous day, Dr. George Tiller, who O’Reilly had stigmatized for years as “Tiller the baby killer” because he was one of the few doctors who provided late-term abortions, was shot to death at his Lutheran church by an anti-abortion fanatic.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Assassination_of_George_Tiller

That prompted Bill O’Reilly to attempt some damage control:

At the same time, Keith Olbermann was dealing with the situation in his own way. He made his most bitter attack against O’Reilly and FOX News yet, accusing them of responsibility for Tiller’s death, and declared that FOX News needed to be subjected to a “quarantine”.

Thus, he made the decision to retire his mocking of O’Reilly, merely being content to quote his words. Frankly, I would have done the same. The whole situation was just too disgusting to make fun of. 

And that’s where it stood until July 31, when this article was published in the New York Times:

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/08/01/business/media/01feud.html?_r=1

Voices From Above Silence a Cable TV Feud

Virginia Sherwood/NBC, left; Steve Fenn/ABC

Keith Olbermann of MSNBC Bill O’Reilly of the Fox News Channel regularly trade swipes at each other on their cable news shows.

Published: July 31, 2009
It was a media cage fight, televised every weeknight at 8 p.m. But the match was halted when the blood started to spray executives in the high-priced seats.

For years Keith Olbermann of MSNBC had savaged his prime-time nemesis Bill O’Reilly of the Fox News Channel and accused Fox of journalistic malpractice almost nightly. Mr. O’Reilly in turn criticized Mr. Olbermann’s bosses and led an exceptional campaign against General Electric, the parent company of MSNBC.

It was perhaps the fiercest media feud of the decade and by this year, their bosses had had enough. But it took a fellow television personality with a neutral perspective to help bring it to at least a temporary end.

At an off-the-record summit meeting for chief executives sponsored by Microsoft in mid-May, the PBS interviewer Charlie Rose asked Jeffrey Immelt, chairman of G.E., and his counterpart at the News Corporation, Rupert Murdoch, about the feud.

Both moguls expressed regret over the venomous culture between the networks and the increasingly personal nature of the barbs. Days later, even though the feud had increased the audience of both programs, their lieutenants arranged a cease-fire, according to four people who work at the companies and have direct knowledge of the deal.

In early June, the combat stopped, and MSNBC and Fox, for the most part, found other targets for their verbal missiles (Hello, CNN).

“It was time to grow up,” a senior employee of one of the companies said.

The reconciliation — not acknowledged by the parties until now — showcased how a personal and commercial battle between two men could create real consequences for their parent corporations. A G.E. shareholders’ meeting, for instance, was overrun by critics of MSNBC (and one of Mr. O’Reilly’s producers) last April.

“We all recognize that a certain level of civility needed to be introduced into the public discussion,” Gary Sheffer, a spokesman for G.E., said this week. “We’re happy that has happened.”

The parent companies declined to comment directly on the details of the cease-fire, which was orchestrated in part by Jeff Zucker, the chief executive of NBC Universal, and Gary Ginsberg, an executive vice president who oversees corporate affairs at the News Corporation.

Mr. Olbermann, who is on vacation, said by e-mail message, “I am party to no deal,” adding that he would not have been included in any conversations between G.E. and the News Corporation. Fox News said it would not comment.

Civility was not always the aim of Mr. Olbermann and Mr. O’Reilly, men who, in an industry of thin skins, are both famous for reacting to verbal pinpricks. Both host 8 p.m. programs on cable news in studios a few blocks apart in Midtown Manhattan.

The conservative-leaning Mr. O’Reilly has turned “The O’Reilly Factor” into a profit center for the News Corporation by blitzing his opponents and espousing his opinions unapologetically. He found his bête noire in the liberal-leaning Mr. Olbermann, the host of MSNBC’s “Countdown,” who saw in Mr. O’Reilly a regenerating target he nicknamed the “Bill-o the Clown.”

The 6-foot-4 Mr. Olbermann started sniping regularly at the also 6-foot-4 Mr. O’Reilly in late 2005, sometimes making him the subject of the “Countdown” segment, the “Worst Person in the World.” Mr. O’Reilly was also a stand-in for the perceived offenses of the top-rated Fox News.

By punching up at his higher-rated prey, Mr. Olbermann helped his own third-place cable news show. “Honestly, I should send him a check each week,” he remarked to a reporter three years ago. Fox noticed. Mr. Murdoch remarked to Esquire last year that “Keith Olbermann is trying to make a business out of destroying Bill O’Reilly.” Mr. O’Reilly refused to mention his critic by name on the “Factor,” deeming him a “vicious smear merchant,” but he regularly blamed Mr. Zucker for “ruining a once-great brand,” NBC.

In late 2007, Mr. O’Reilly had a young producer, Jesse Watters, ambush Mr. Immelt and ask about G.E.’s business in Iran, which is legal, and which includes sales of energy and medical technology. G.E. says it no longer does business in Iran.

Mr. O’Reilly continued to pour pressure on its corporate leaders, even saying on one program last year that “If my child were killed in Iraq, I would blame the likes of Jeffrey Immelt.” The resulting e-mail to G.E. from Mr. O’Reilly’s viewers was scathing.

The messages hit nerves on both sides. Mr. Immelt remarked to MSNBC staff members last summer that he would “never forgive Rupert Murdoch” for Fox’s behavior, according to two people who were present. In private phone calls, the Fox News chairman, Roger Ailes, told NBC officials to end the attacks.

In February, Mr. Zucker told Newsweek what he had told Mr. Olbermann privately: “I wish it weren’t so personal.” The previous year, Mr. Murdoch said that Mr. O’Reilly “shouldn’t be so sensitive” to the attacks lobbed by MSNBC.

Over time, G.E. and the News Corporation concluded that the fighting “wasn’t good for either parent,” said an NBC employee with direct knowledge of the situation. But the session hosted by Mr. Rose provided an opportunity for a reconciliation, sealed with a handshake between Mr. Immelt and Mr. Murdoch.

But like any title fight, the final round could not end without an attempted knockout. On June 1, the day after the abortion provider George Tiller was killed in Kansas, Mr. Olbermann took to the air to cite Mr. O’Reilly’s numerous references to “Tiller, the baby killer” and to announce that he would retire his caricature of Mr. O’Reilly.

“The goal here is to get this blindly irresponsible man and his ilk off the air,” he said.

The next day, Mr. O’Reilly made the extraordinary claim that “federal authorities have developed information about General Electric doing business with Iran, deadly business” and published Mr. Immelt’s e-mail address and mailing address, repeating it slowly for emphasis.

Then the attacks mostly stopped.

Shortly after, Phil Griffin, the MSNBC president, told producers that he wanted the channel’s other programs to follow Mr. Olbermann’s lead and restrain from criticizing Fox directly, according to two employees. At Fox News, some staff members were told to “be fair” to G.E.

The executives at both companies, it appears, were relieved. “For this war to stop, it meant fewer headaches on the corporate side,” one employee said.

Tensions still simmer between the two networks, however, and staff members have been unwilling or unable to stop the strife altogether. This week, for instance, the Fox host Glenn Beck called Mr. Obama a racist, prompting rebukes on a number of MSNBC shows. But for now, the daily back and forth has quieted.

“They’ve won their respective constituencies,” said a former member of MSNBC’s senior staff. “They don’t need to do this anymore, really.”

Olbermann was returning from a two week vacation. When he resumed hosting his show on August 3, he addressed that article directly:

He must have been furious! Had he kept his word and never made fun of Bill O’Reilly again, it would have made him look like a corporate shill, not a legitimate newsman. So in this case, he had to break his word in order to preserve his credibility!

And his action proved to be justified on August 11, when O’Reilly attacked General Electric the parent company of MSNBC:

Thus it appears there was no deal on the side of O’Reilly and FOX News as well. Olbermann shot back the next evening:

So now, I have just one question: Has Brian Stelter been fired from the New York Times yet?

Oh and by the way, Keith Olbermann would not need to do damage control if someone was insane enough to kill Bill O’Reilly. He already denounced one such threat made against his rival on August 19, 2008. That’s right, ONE YEAR AGO!

And that’s why Olbermann is the better man.

Science needs a new superhero

Carl Sagan died in 1996, yet he still lives in the hearts of those who knew him, whether personally or as the public celebrity he became.

Now the time has come for science to move on and find a new superhero, someone who can command both the public respect that Sagan did and challenge society for the better. Although Sagan was an agnostic who championed skepticism, he did not come across as openly hostile towards all religion, as Richard Dawkins does. Such hostility, even if justified, can turn gentle souls away from science. So who can possibly succeed Carl Sagan? Who can be the champion of reason, rationality, and tolerance for all?

I will. And so can you. And you, you, you, you and you, if only you just care to be as dedicated to science and to the welfare to humanity as Sagan was. I have championed the philosophy of Honorable Skepticism as my tribute to Sagan. But the best way to honor him is not merely to keep playing his COSMOS series and talking about what he did, but to make our own contributions to science, to EXCEED Sagan’s work, to become superheros of science ourselves. We are not expected merely to blindly follow what Sagan taught, for he was by no means infallible. Because he was human as we, we can carry his vision forward, and we will do it by eliminating the concept of “sacred cows” and seeking change to improve our societies, regardless of what short-term and localized interests get stepped on. They deserve it! And we cannot afford to appease those interests anymore. Having a global and long-term perspective is what will save us, not any religion or political ideology.

Bailout the PEOPLE, not the banks!

Did Bush Jr really think he’d get away with demanding a $700 billion bailout to the banks of America, the same institutions that have been screwing with the American people for decades?! Well, he didn’t! The bill FAILED in Congress and now I can only hope that simular such bailouts never are allowed to be even considered.

Can someone explain to me why we should not give that $700 billion to the American people instead? I have calculated that every man, woman and child would get about $2,300. The last time we got money back from the federal government it was about $600 for every taxpayer. So this begs the obvious question, how could Bush Jr be more generous to the banks that get so much money in interest from credit card debts? How could they still be failing, then???

Let’s not forget that Bush Jr scammed us once before with his false claim that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. Are we going to let us be scammed again, especially with Bush’s last term almost up?

The absurdity of Gitmo

OK, let me get this straight
First the Bush Adminstration attempts to define the prisoners at Gitmo as neither criminal suspects nor as POWs. It should be noted that the former class are forbidden to be tortured under the Bill of Rights, while the second class are prohibited from being tortured under the Geneva Conventions. Then to cover their @$$es further, the Bush Adminstration attempts to reclassify waterboarding, excluding it as a form of torture. 

What is one supposed to conclude from that? You join the points together and thus conclude that waterboarding, and other forms of torture, are probably being done at Gitmo. And do you not think that’s why those prisoners were sent to Gitmo in the first place, to try to prevent the public from seeing what was about to take place there? Even German or Japanese POWs during World War II were never sent to Gitmo. 

If such nonsense was ever done to American citizens by any other government, we’d all be howling in protest about it. But we are Americans who were so hurt by 9-11, so we can do whatever we want to anyone we please. We are special! We are better than all other peoples! We can’t trust THEM to live their own lives out without us looking constantly over their shoulders to make sure they do things OUR way. All because a few extremists nuts rammed a few planes into a few buildings, we go ballistic and throw due process out the window and put ourselves in a perpetual state of “war”. Remember, war is good for business too.

Of course, that doesn’t absolutely PROVE that torture and other human rights violations have taken place at Gitmo. But when the police have probable cause that a criminal suspect has committed a crime, even if it wasn’t done openly, they are duty bound to arrest the suspect. Likewise, we Americans are duty bound by our allegiance to the US Constitution to end the detaining of the prisoners at Gitmo and investigate those who detained them. No one should be above the law!

The sad downfall of Silly Old Bear in Care2

Silly Old Bear, also known as Henric Jensen, is one of my best online friends. He is Jewish, Swedish, married, a transexual, and one of the best human rights activists I’ve ever known. He was also one of the most hated people in Care2. Hated because he was a firm opponent of Israel-bashing, which he saw as anti-Semetic, and was just as eager to defending men’s rights even before angry feminists who seemed to have a grudge against all men. Continue reading

This should be called PROSTITUTION!

No child should have to endure this sort of nonsense!

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/13-yr-old_says_no_to_marriage_in_Rajasthan/articleshow/3110142.cms

13-yr-old says no to marriage in Rajasthan

JAISALMER: A 13-year-old girl is revolting against a hoary tradition that has crushed many a childhood in Rajasthan – child marriage.

Refusing to crumble under social pressure, Asu Kunwar from Sedhana village, near Pokhran, stood up to her father who was bent on marrying her off to a 40-year-old for Rs 49,000 and a gold chain.

Bhom Singh now has to return the money to his prospective son-in-law in the face of resistance from Asu, who sought police protection.

Bhom Singh struck the deal with Sawai Singh two years ago, promising to give him his daughter’s hand when she was older. He was forced to send back his prospective son-in-law after Asu put her foot down.

Soon she had won her mother over to her side, but the father, who had already taken the bride price of Rs 49,000 tried to push her into wedlock this April, saying a date had already been fixed and a Rajput had to honour his word.

Confronted by the empowered mother-daughter duo, Sawai Singh, meanwhile, reached out to the larger male-dominated community and village panchayat of Sedhana. He also went to the local police to seek their help, but they refused to intervene.

Petitioned by Sawai Singh, the village panchayat met and decided it was only fair that the man be allowed to marry the 13-year-old. Villagers then gathered around the girl’s house and tried to force her to agree to the wedding.

Seeing the community against her, Asu’s mother went to Indu Chopra, a woman official of the local women and child development department.

That’s when the official organised protection for the mother and child and warned the villagers to back off. A police force, which had till then stood as mute spectators, was then forced to step in and caution Asu’s father about the consequences of violating the ban on child marriage.

Bhom Singh, villagers said, has now borrowed money from various sources to pay back the bride price.

It’s illegal to sell babies in most parts of the world and for women to have sex for money (prostitution). Why is it acceptable in ANY society, tradition bound or not, to take money from an older man and then force your daughter to marry that man when she is still a child?! That father should be locked up, along with the prospective groom, and the girl and her mother should be honored as heros for human rights.