Horst and his Brittany Spaniel Emma…

… work on our little upstate NY house.

Scary Halloween Witch, Front Window, Chez UD

Washington! It may not be the most visually compelling city…

… but UD‘s hometown abundantly – maybe even uniquely – caters to your every political whim. So UD has for awhile been taken up with the issue of global female genital mutilation (half a million women in the United States have been cut, or are at risk of cutting, 50,000 of them in the Washington region; Maryland, where UD lives, is one of eight states with the highest rates), and a couple of nights ago she had merely to walk a few hundred yards from her university office in order to take part in a spectacular global forum about it.

She was able to ask one of the lead DOJ attorneys on the Jumana Nagarwala case in Detroit if we’re actually going to be able to put this Johns Hopkins University med school graduate in prison for a long time.

“We do not,” she replied, “take cases we are not confident we can win.” (Applause broke out at this.)

UD looks forward to Johns Hopkins University publicly rescinding Nagarwala’s degree, on the grounds that medical schools in the United States are not butcheries.

Linda Weil-Curiel, a heroic French attorney with a heroic family history, described her years of successful prosecution against cutters. “My most rewarding moment? I was sitting in a courthouse, looking over some notes, when three large and menacing men surrounded me. ‘You’re the reason our women no longer obey us,’ they said.”

Here she talks about the central, overwhelming importance of a secular state with a commitment to universal human rights. Lately she’s been trying to get all of this across to hapless England, which has a scandalously huge FGM problem, about which it seems unable to do anything. But of course French laïcité gives them an advantage, in this as in so many other matters.

****************

Speaking of visually compelling, Pierre Foldès, the surgeon who pioneered reconstructive surgery for those who’ve been cut, was also there, and he treated us to many large graphic images of the whole shebang: mutilation, rehabilitation. Ol’ UD wasn’t expecting this, and she doesn’t mind telling you she underwent a certain interval of heebie-jeebies until she settled in to the whole clinical observation thing.

Poem.

THE NARCOTIC FAMINE


‘The American opioid-overdose epidemic must be addressed in the same stroke as the [global] narcotic famine.’

Hard to imagine
Narcotic famine

The stark hills the plain
Wide face of pain’s

End-of-life. Our morphine-feed.
Their tumbleweed.

Or the black unmitigated tea
Of uninfused misery.

Against our continuous bolus
The subcutaneous solace

That tranquils labored breath,
Sedates us up to death …

Their bitter unassistive pill.
Unpalliated kill.

Limerick.

When it comes to the source of their moxie
The Sacklers know how to be foxy.
“They don’t know from Oxy.
They don’t know from Roxy.
And I’m an anonymous proxy.”

Now it’s the turn of North America.

Quebec follows many European nations and regions in banning the burqa and niqab in public places.

Opponents always say the same two dumb things.

They say only a few women wear it. So? It ain’t about numbers, baby.

They say it’s all about the cynical politics of the moment.

The National Council of Canadian Muslims issued a statement saying it was “deeply concerned” by the new law and that it “boils down to ugly identity politics” ahead of the 2018 provincial election.

Opposition to fully covered women, in country after country, is profound, and transcends politics.

***************

As for ugly identity politics – hey. Better ugly identities than no identity at all.

IOW: For sure this is about identity politics. It’s about having an identity. End the blotting out of women.

“Pitino maintains complete innocence throughout, and at one point says that he actually had his program become extra compliant after a 2015 escort scandal. As for that scandal? He, of course, knew nothing about it.”

Evil whoring assistant coach!
Evil whoring corporate roach!

Little boy innocent! Little boy blue!
Rick has no choice but to sue sue sue sue.

The Center for Strategic and International Stupefacients…

… boasts on its board one of America’s most notorious opioid distributors: John Hammergren. As CEO of McKesson, he has flooded West Virginia and similar defenseless states with so many opioids that over the last ten years, while helping to destroy the lives of thousands of Americans, he has brought home seven hundred million dollars in personal compensation.

As Alfred North Whitehead reminds us, “No one who achieves success does so without the help of others.” Thanks, citizens of Kermit!

It must give the scholars at CSIS a warm feeling to ponder this major source of their funding (Hammergren is also a big-time donor). UD thinks the CSIS leadership should visit Kermit and give every one of its citizens a big fat kiss.

******************

To make it all even prettier, Hammergren chairs a CSIS task force on family health!

While you’re enjoying 60 Minutes, and following today’s news about Tom Marino (currently suffering from withdrawal), remember that opioid-loving drug czars may come and go, but people like Hammergren, given respectability by seemingly respectable academic outfits like CSIS, go on forever, destroying entire towns and setting health care policy.

‘Beyond the face-covering ban, the bill also sets out broad limits for all requests for religious accommodation. It states a request has to be “serious,” respect the right to equality between men and women and “the right of every person to be treated without discrimination.”‘

Quebec is well on its way, not only toward a significant burqa ban, but just as importantly toward an effort to discriminate between “serious” and non-serious religious accommodation requests. The intellectual laziness and social irresponsibility of beliefs like Katha Pollitt’s – “[R]eligion is what people make of it.” – make the world safe for crushing restrictions against girls and women in otherwise advanced countries.

You don’t get to say that your religion mandates that your eleven year old daughter have her clitoris cut off and her vagina sewn up and her head and body covered in veils. You don’t get to say that your religion mandates your wife can’t leave the house – ever – or if she is allowed out, it’s only under guard and under total veiling. You don’t get to say that “due to my firm religious beliefs … it will not be possible for me to meet in public with a group of women.” It’s perfectly okay for you to run your own cult in which you ban yourself from contact with the female race, but you don’t get to call this a religion, and you don’t get accommodations based on it.

You’re free to sue your daughter’s school because it won’t let you be on its grounds fully veiled. You will lose the suit, and it will cost you a lot of money and the court system a lot of time to get to that foreseeable outcome, but you’re free to do it.

But no state, and no institution within a state, is compelled to accommodate every demand made upon it simply because someone somewhere presents some behavior or other as religious.

‘Rick Pitino Out at Louisville as Expected Amid Federal Probe’

Indeed, we knew that was coming.

What you might not have known is the other big news:

Rick Pitino has just been named Academic Provost at the University of North Carolina!

Richard Wilbur, a Great American Poet, has Died.

At 96. Here’s one of his best poems. It’s nice and seasonal.

In the Elegy Season

Haze, char, and the weather of All Souls’:
A giant absence mopes upon the trees:
Leaves cast in casual potpourris
Whisper their scents from pits and cellar-holes.

Or brewed in gulleys, steeped in wells, they spend
In chilly steam their last aromas, yield
From shallow hells a revenance of field
And orchard air. And now the envious mind

Which could not hold the summer in my head
While bounded by that blazing circumstance
Parades these barrens in a golden trance,
Remembering the wealthy season dead,

And by an autumn inspiration makes
A summer all its own. Green boughs arise
Through all the boundless backward of the eyes,
And the soul bathes in warm conceptual lakes.

Less proud than this, my body leans an ear
Past cold and colder weather after wings’
Soft commotion, the sudden race of springs,
The goddess’ tread heard on the dayward stair,

Longs for the brush of the freighted air, for smells
Of grass and cordial lilac, for the sight
Of green leaves building into the light
And azure water hoisting out of wells.

******************

UD‘s Wilbur posts. (Scroll down.)

Hurricane Ophelia Makes a Rainbow in Dublin

La Kid just snapped this photo
from her apartment’s sitting room.

‘Well #VSU homecoming was lit until somebody got shot smh’

This tweeter expresses surprise (smh: shake my head) that one of America’s most violent campuses – Virginia State University – features violence. It was homecoming; there was a hiphop concert; the evening featured gunfire, injury, and a bunch of fights.

A little counterpoint, if I may, between the editorial staff of the Texas Tech newspaper…

… and a Lubbock insurance blogger.

[TT]:

With the Las Vegas shooting happening so far away from here, it’s easy to separate ourselves from the idea that [a nineteen year old Texas Tech freshman – Hollis Daniels – could be a cold-blooded murderer].

[IB]:

The FBI recently released 2016 data for crime in the United States. Lubbock was ranked as the 2nd most dangerous city in Texas with 825.4 violent crimes reported per 100,000 residents.

[TT]:

It feels like our little West Texas world has been darkened by the threat of a shooting.

[IB]:

[T]he violent crime rate in Lubbock is 88% higher than the average across Texas.

[TT]:

[A]s Red Raiders, we are closer than ever and will continue to support each other.

That’s the spirit of Tech and everyone associated with this university, and that will never fade away.

[UD]:

Everyone?

‘To Quote a UNC Friend: “We beat the rap by arguing, in effect, that any UNC degree might be worthless, not just athletes.”‘

This blog has long written about how big-time athletics infects a university, attracting to it scads of unserious students, jocksniffer administrators, and rich, control-freak, alumni boosters. Eventually the university is run by the two guys with all the money: the alumni booster (Boone Pickens; Phil Knight) and the football/basketball coach (JoePa Of Blessed Memory and Cached Statue; Still-Uncached Statue Man Nick Saban).

Every now and then one of these hopeless little North Koreas, with their Dear Leaders who take students’ money in order to play the pointless war games (KILL AUBURN!) that keep students in a stupor, decides to improve itself, to look more like a university than an experiment in repressive desublimation. But whether it’s Penn State or the University of North Carolina, the systemic sickness of the jockshop (Professor Emeritus Sandusky puts PSU’s leadership in prison; Julius Nyang’oro’s depravity ushers in mandatory class inspections for all faculty) will always – as the UNC observer in this post’s headline notes – overwhelm any self-improvement efforts and reveal the sick joke at the permanent core of the place.

*****************

UD thanks an UNC insider
for this post’s headline.

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