On the meaning of the hijab

Good debate on the matter in the NYT (given my history on the subject– see #5).  Loved these two takes:

Asra Q. Nomani:

As mainstream Muslim women, we see the girl’s headscarf not as a signal of “choice,” but as a symbol of a dangerous purity culture, obsessed with honor and virginity, that has divided Muslim communities in our own civil war, or fitna, since the Saudi and Iranian regimes promulgated puritanical interpretations of Sunni and Shia Islam, after the 1970s Saudi oil boom and the 1979 Iranian Revolution.

In the eight times the word hijab, or a derivative, appears in the Koran, it means a “barrier” or “curtain,” with spiritual, not sartorial, meaning.

Today, well-intentioned women are wearing headscarves in interfaith “solidarity.” But, to us, they stand on the wrong side of a lethal war of ideas that sexually objectifies women as vessels for honor and temptation, absolving men of personal responsibility.

And Nushin Arbabzadah:

Standing on the road that ran alongside the main school building, I watched mustachioed secret policemen carry about a dozen girls out of my school on stretchers. I was bewildered. The next day, at the regular morning assembly on the school field, our headmistress told us that the mujahedin had poisoned our drinking well because our girls didn’t cover their hair properly. She declared that from now on, the school would follow much stricter hijab rules. No more headscarves that loosely hung over our heads. No more thin scarves that more rebellious girls slung around their necks, “like snakes,” she said.

My school decided to appease, rather than defy and defeat, the mujahedin, or “holy warriors.” From now on I had to wear a white headscarf. I learned that the hair on my head was not just a battleground for an ideological war between the secular government and the mujahedin. It was also a political symbol that could be negotiated without my consent.

My hair didn’t belong to me. It belonged to the Soviet-backed Kabul regime and its enemy, the Western-backed mujahedin. My hair was the target of a proxy war.

Obviously, there’s some contrary views.  But I find these by far the most compelling.

Race and Oregon

Nice piece from Jamelle Bouie:

Likewise, thousands of people retweeted an image of an armed militiaman captioned “150 armed white men take over a federal building and threaten violence if removed—Not a single shot is fired at them” followed by a photo of Tamir Rice with the caption, “12-year-old black boy plays with a toy gun—is gunned down in less than two seconds without as much as a warning.”

It’s easy to see why both tweets struck a chord. But it’s also worth noting the extent to which the Rice shooting—and many others—are fundamentally different from that of a standoff between armed fanatics and federal law enforcement. It’s not just that these are different organizations—local and city police forces versus the FBI and other federal agencies—and different kinds of confrontations with different procedures, but that there’s also a different history involved. Confrontations at Ruby Ridge and inWaco, Texas, ended with scores of dead (white) civilians, and inspired the Oklahoma City bombing—the deadliest terrorist attack on American soil prior to Sept. 11, 2001.

Law enforcement has been willing to use lethal violence against armed white protesters and the results were catastrophic. It’s no surprise federal agents are cautious; they walk with the hard-learned lessons of the 1990s. Even if the Bundys are paper tigers, no one wants to relive the past. In that, law enforcement officials are correct.

In any case, why won’t they shoot at armed white fanatics isn’t just the wrong question; it’s a bad one. Not only does it hold lethal violence as a fair response to the Bundy militia, but it opens a path to legitimizing the same violence against more marginalized groups. As long as the government is an equal opportunity killer,goes the argument, violence is acceptable.

But that’s perverse. If there’s a question to ask on this score, it’s not why don’t they use violence, it’s why aren’t they more cautious with unarmed suspects and common criminals? If we’re outraged, it shouldn’t be because law enforcement isn’t rushing to violently confront Bundy and his group. We should be outraged because that restraint isn’t extended to all Americans.

Good stuff.  But, I think many of are outraged precisely because that restraint is not extended to all Americans.

What to eat and what not to eat– in chart form!!

Somehow I missed this when it ran in the Atlantic back in November.  Anyway, love this chart that distills a recent Health Affairs study on how different foods affect weight gain:

Should not really be all that much surprising here.  We’ve been hearing whole grains, fruits, and vegetables for a long time.  There’s also been plenty of more recent research on the benefit of nuts and yogurt.  I actually have a good amount of most of these every day.  I wish all it took was eating a lot of these healthy foods.  It doesn’t, though, as you clearly also need to avoid the bad ones.  Even when I am at my worst of splurging on sweets and refined grains (e.g., recent Christmas vacation), I still get a decent amount of fruits, veggies, whole grains, nuts, and yogurt, but that won’t stop me from putting on weight.

And, boy, are potato chips uniquely problematic.  I let my kids have way to much refined grain snack food, but at least they almost never have potato chips.

Oh, and of course, I need to mention the very last item in the chart.  Suck it diet soda haters!

I’m sure heroin addicts read the N&O

Well, good news, Wake County (my home) is stepping up it’s war on drugs.  I’m going to be able to sleep so much better at night and let my kids out into the culdesac to play now that I know Wake is allocating a few hundred thousand more a year to drug trafficking.  There’s just so much evidence that stepping up enforcement measures cuts down on drug use 😉. From the N&O:

The Wake County Board of Commissioners in a ceremonial vote unanimously approved a midyear expansion of the sheriff’s drugs and vice unit by adding three investigators, bringing the unit to 14 members.

The vote designates $103,600 in existing funds within the sheriff’s budget to fund the positions for the remainder of the fiscal year, which ends in June. The move also allocated $207,000 for the next fiscal year, which starts in July. The Sheriff’s Office is also expected to use $173,343 in federal grants.

Without offering arrest and seizure statistics or producing a report his office referenced in a letter to commissioners, Harrison stressed the importance of the additional officers as he spoke at a Board of Commissioners meeting.

The Sheriff’s Office didn’t present a direct link between recent drug busts and Mexican drug organizations but cited the “Atlanta-Carolinas High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area 2014 Threat Assessment” report as a reference.

The Sheriff’s Office, however, didn’t provide the report to The News & Observer, and the U.S. Department of Justice didn’t immediately respond to an inquiry about the document.


On Monday, Harrison promised commissioners they’d see results from their investment.

“If you allow me to have those investigators, we’ll make a dent. We’ll make a big dent,” he said.

“If the public knows we have more people working on drugs, that’s a deterrent,” he added. [emphasis mine]

Commissioners supported Harrison without hesitation.

“This allows us to go after more fish, bigger fish,” Matt Calabria said.

Caroline Sullivan noted a spike in overdoses locally, and Jessica Holmes pointed out that young people are the heaviest users.

“While this is not a pretty conversation to have, it is a critical conversation to have,” Holmes said…

Meanwhile, WakeMed Health and Hospitals says the number of patients needing treatment for heroin overdoses has increased since 2010, when the system treated seven patients.

The WakeMed system treated 21 patients the following year, 39 in 2012, 50 in 2013, 49 in 2014 and 71 last year, according to the hospital’s public relations office.

The additional resources will help the Sheriff’s Office target larger drug trafficking operations and fill a void in enforcement, Harrison said.

We f***ing know how to stop people from dying of overdoses!  It’s called suboxone and naloxone and a medical model of addressing heroin addiction.  There’s pretty much zero evidence that spending more on interdiction is actually going to do anything about it.  Ohh, but now that we get the bigger fish!  Please.  Because there’s never new bigger fish to step in.  Damn do our county commissioners need to watch the Wire (and these are all Democrats– who I am mightily disappointed in– mind you).

Now, if there’s evidence of violence or increased property (or any other kind of crime) due to drug trafficking, then, by all means, I want our local law enforcement to allocate resources and work to stop it.  But the idea that allocating this money towards drug trafficking will “let the public know” and deter drug use is just fanciful.

Ugh, to have better “leaders” and some sanity in our approach towards drugs.

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