Odds, ends and links

Busy today doing assorted bits and pieces: Booking travel for a visit to my Mum, paying bills, submitting book reviews to my Mensa newsletter, and paying my first estimated taxes for 2012.
So in the midst of that—links!
•Birth-control pioneer Margaret Sanger is frequently smeared as nothing but a eugenicist out to wipe out non-white (thereby playing into the right-to-life theme that abortion is all about killing off minority babies). While she was indeed a eugenicist, she was also just as dedicated to birth control as a woman’s right to choose, as her biographer discusses.
•Great Russian composers also composed music for Soviet cartoons, including the USSR’s adaptation of Winnie the Pooh, Vinny Pookh (as someone familiar with Alexander Volkov’s adaptation of The Wizard of Oz into the Magic Land series, I’m not surprised).
•When the government (or anyone) claims everyone held in Guantanamo is or was a terrorist, they lie. One inmate’s story—and here’s another. The Guardian reminds us that what were once seen as emergency measures are now hardened into everyday politics.
•We pay a lot of tribute to the American dead in Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan, etc. But when we talk about the tragedy, we ignore it’s worse for the civilians on the other side.
•Yes, some of Obama’s opponents sound insane, but the same kind of craziness has been around a long time.
•One writer suggests economists wield influence that far outstrips the accuracy of their theories.
•What happens to military dogs when they’re too old or sick to serve? A friend of mine writes about it in a newspaper article.
•A Stanford Law Review article argues that the everyday use of surveillance drones could finally encourage pushback against the erosion of privacy. I’m not so sure, but it’s an interesting article nonetheless.
•No, we are not merely the tools of our genes.
•Rick Santorum recently complained that by criticizing his belief, people are persecuting him for his faith. JFK, on the other hand, welcomed questions about his faith and his views (though he told people that if they refused to accept him regardless of his views, purely because of his faith, that would be another matter).
•A biting commentary on writing about Africa.


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