BBC: This is just awful. A Kenyan high school sent home 20 boys for being uncircumcised. School officials say they feared the boys would be tormented by other students over their fully intact equipment and sent the following note to their parents: "Please do the needful within two weeks and let your son report back to school with you immediately [once] he is well." Oy.
AlterNet: Robert Jensen writes about the need to start "an honest conversation about the way in which 'mainstream' pornography, the bulk of which is marketed to heterosexual men, is increasingly cruel and degrading to women and more openly racist than ever." Unfortunately, the meat of the article occupies itself with defending the need for such a conversation, when kicking off the discussion would likely have done a better job of making the case. I'll admit to some reluctance to attacking the scenarios in skin flicks -- they're an absolutely necessary outlet for politically incorrect feelings. But Jensen makes a compelling argument: "Both women and men might understandably be afraid of confronting what pornography tells us about the cruelty of our culture, our own sexual socialization, and the difficult struggles we face to create a world free of sexual violence."
Los Angeles Times: This weighty feature on how states are increasingly funneling public funds into crisis pregnancy centers and other programs dedicated to dissuading women from having abortions is a must-read. We've written about crisis pregnancy centers trafficking in inaccurate and dishonest reproductive-health information and it should come as no surprise -- especially under our new chief of family-planning programs -- that such efforts are only increasing.
Reuters: The news agency decided to run a feature on the dating site www.hotprisonpals.com fittingly (I guess?) just days before Valentine's Day. The site puts inmates in touch with women looking for some romance with a man behind bars. Co-creator of the site, Jason Rupp, says, "It's a thrill for women. These are good looking guys and they can seem really exotic from the outside," he continues. "It's a fantasy. You don't see any of their flaws." Well, at least not their biggest flaws -- many abstain from listing their reason for being imprisoned. Especially the murderers and rapists, adds Rupp.
Wonkette: Just wait for the conservative spin on this: First Nancy Pelosi asked for access to a military plane, and now she wants potty parity! Apparently, there isn't a women's restroom anywhere near the House floor, while men have one nearby. Thankfully, John F. Banzhaf III, a professor of public interest law at George Washington University Law School, is championing the fight to get the ladies of the House a friggin' toilet.