links for 2010-07-09

  • "A federal judge in Massachusetts found Thursday that a law barring the federal government from recognizing same-sex marriage is unconstitutional, ruling that gay and lesbian couples deserve the same federal benefits as heterosexual couples.

    "If the rulings find their way to the Supreme Court and are upheld there, they will put same-sex marriage within the constitutional realm of protection, just as interracial marriage has been for decades. Seeking that protection is at the heart of both the Massachusetts cases and a federal case pending in California over the legality of that state’s ban on same-sex marriage."

  • "A 43-year-old Iranian woman will not be stoned to death after an international campaign launched by her children.
    "It is unclear whether the authorities have lifted the death sentence for alleged adultery against Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani or if she faces execution by another means."
  • "In the film, Karen Boyd Beamon recalled the giddiness of her days at Emerson. 'My Saturday mornings were wonderful,' she said, “because I knew I was going to the Y.'

    "For many black people, it took a long time before they were willing to step inside the larger Evanston Y.M.C.A., now known as the McGaw Y.M.C.A.

    “'Sometimes I think people mistake hurt for anger,' said Ms. Holmes. 'And it’s not anger. It’s just hurt.'”

  • "Minority children have fewer opportunities than their white peers to gain access to high-quality health care, education, safe neighborhoods and adequate support from the communities where they live, according to a nationwide survey of professionals who work with young people.

    "Of the professionals surveyed, 59 percent said young white children in their communities have 'lots of opportunity' to play in violence-free homes and neighborhoods, while only 36 percent said the same about Hispanic children, 37 percent about African-American children and 42 percent about Native American children."

  • "The National Portrait Gallery needs to raise £100,000 to secure the portrait of African Muslim role model Ayuba Suleiman Diallo, described as 'the face of contemporary Britain'.The 'national treasure' has not been displayed before in public but has gone on show temporarily at the London gallery to help raise support."
  • "In the popular imagination, African music is the antithesis of urban. It's folk music, music of the bush, music of mythical village cultures that are still intact. Kwaito, born in townships and featuring occasionally misogynistic lyrics and a whiff of gangsterism, doesn't fit that image. Of course, the image is absolute nonsense: one of the first African sounds to make global inroads was jit, the sound of urban Zimbabwe in the 1980s. But you can see, even in its packaging, how this need to imagine Africa as exclusively rural persists: recently a reviewer rightly castigated the African Pearls compilation for an album cover that featured barefoot women dancing around a baobab tree — for a compilation of urban 1970s music from Senegal. It's quite a cheap trick."