TagPakistan

CNN’s Bogus Drone-Deaths Graphic

CNN drone graph

CNN is running a story on a CNN graph that, in he words of Atlantic writer Conor Friedersdorf, “indicates that the Pakistan drone program overseen by Nobel Peace Prize winner Barack Obama killed 163 innocent people in 2009, 40 innocent people in 2010, 26 innocents in 2011, and zero innocent people in 2012.” Friedersdorf continues:

Is our drone-strike program really only killing bad guys now?

The casual CNN reader can be forgiven for drawing that conclusion. Why worry about drones if everyone dying from them is now a militant? she might conclude. What the authors neglect to mention is this bit from the May 29, New York Times story that explains how the United States government — and perhaps our allies of convenience inside Pakistan? — define “militant.” Per the newspaper (emphasis added), “Mr. Obama embraced a disputed method for counting civilian casualties that did little to box him in. It in effect counts all military-age males in a strike zone as combatants, according to several administration officials, unless there is explicit intelligence posthumously proving them innocent.” [...]

Americans ought to know that the Bureau of Investigative Journalism claims to have verified a minimum of three civilian casualties in 2012, that the U.S. government’s definition of militants makes its claims unreliable, and that our method of identifying militants almost certainly isn’t foolproof. Clive Stafford Smith, who has reported from Pakistan, wrote in The Guardian last month that “just as with Guant√°namo Bay, the CIA is paying bounties to those who will identify ‘terrorists’. Five thousand dollars is an enormous sum for a Waziri informant, translating to perhaps ¬£250,000 in London terms. The informant has a calculation to make: is it safer to place a GPS tag on the car of a truly dangerous terrorist, or to call down death on a Nobody (with the beginnings of a beard), reporting that he is a militant? Too many ‘militants’ are just young men with stubble.”

The Atlantic: CNN’s Bogus Drone-Deaths Graphic

Pakistan and India officially recognize “third gender”

ThatGypsyBoy

India and Pakinstan now officially recognize the “third gender” of hijara – transgendered people, transvestites, and eunuchs.

The transexual movement for equal rights in South Asia is fascinating and ancient, distinct in many ways from their Western counterparts.

The right to an ID card for a third sexed individual is a recent development there, but in India there are several hijras (or aravanis, as some prefer to be called, after the god Aravan) already who have succeeded in being elected as political officials.

Additionally, hijara are being hired by governments to recover defaulted loans because hijara are believed to possess occult powers.

Electric Children: Pakistan Supreme Court Recognizes Third Gender

Popularity of hobbies by geographic location

An interesting thing about Meetup, a web site for organizing local interest groups, is that it ranks cities by number of people signed up for certain meets.

  • Burning Man City: Seattle
  • Body Modifcation City: Toronto, ON (# 2 is Tel Aviv)
  • Discordian City: Seattle
  • Magickal City: Charlotte, NC
  • Smart mob City: Denver
  • Coffee City: Chicago (Seattle was only # 6)
  • Comics City: New York
  • Dumpster Diving City: New York
  • Straight Edge City: Providence, RI
  • Pagan Parenting City: St. Louis, MO
  • Amiga City: Tel Aviv
  • Newly Single City: Toronto, ON
  • X-Men City: London (with a whopping 2 members)
  • Japanese Pop City: Houston
  • EFF City: Austin
  • Nanotech City: Minneapolis

    What’s big, city by city?

  • Tel Aviv: Pagan
  • Rio: Linux
  • Moscow: Britney Spears
  • Perth: Goth
  • Madrid: Russell Crowe
  • Cairo: Knitting
  • Stockholm: Body Modification
  • Prague: Vampire (not the game apparently…)
  • New Delhi: Sex and the City
  • Islamabad, Pakistan: Gilmore Girls
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