Rape culture in India: A state minister from the ruling BJP party appallingly says of rape, "sometimes it's right, sometimes it's wrong" after two cousins—aged 12 and 14—were raped and hanged last week. In the video clip above, Arundhati Roy tries to explain to a British interviewer that rape culture in India is about police domination (rape by police might as well be legal, she says) and about caste and class domination. Middle-class women are protected by laws, poorer women are not. (Stupidly, the interviewer wants to make it all about cartoons of modern/primitive India, but Roy refuses to engage with that nonsense.)

Rape culture and class/caste: Amana Fontanella-Khan, author of Pink Sari Revolution, argues in the NYT that rape is a symptom of economic and social domination and that in recent years 90 percent of the people raped in India have been Dalit (formerly known as "untouchable") women.

FareStart moves into the PacMed tower—that big, pink, deco, asylum-looking building on Beacon Hill: The nonprofit that trains homeless folks to work in the restaurant industry—here's a profile of FareStart written during a 2007 Stranger holiday fundraiser—will join Seattle Central Community College's health-training program and a slice of Pacific Medical that still occupies the basement and first floor of the building.

Speaking of SCCC, why did it take "Community" out of its name? The rumors from people speaking off the record have been that it wanted to be more attractive to wealthy overseas students who would like a US degree (and would like to pay more than US students for one), don't have the English-language proficiency to jump to an old-fashioned four-year university, but would prefer "college" over "community college" on their resumes. I called the SCCC communications office this morning to ask, but they're only open Monday, Tuesday, "and half of Wednesday." So we'll have to wait.

"Walmart moms" strike: "Gail Todd, who works at the Walmart in Landover Hills, Maryland, knows this struggle all too well. A mother of three, she used to have an 'open schedule' – meaning she had to be available to work anytime, day or night – so childcare was a constant problem. But when Todd limited her work available to care for her children, her hours got cut back, sometimes to as few as 12 per seven days. It's hard to support one person – let alone a family – on $130 a week." Go for it, workers. In Seattle, we went from a one-day fast-food strike to a roiling civic debate to a unanimous city council vote to raise the minimum wage to $15/hour (suck it, haters) in almost exactly a year. Direct action gets the goods.

It's not just the USA: A police-hating, gun-control-fearing young man has (allegedly) gunned down three police officers in a northeast Canadian town and Mounties are still trying to find him. If you live near Moncton, New Brunswick, police suggest you stay indoors and away from windows. (I've always wondered why this particular strain of strangeness never seemed to leap beyond the lower 48 and into Canada and Alaska. I figured the warm but non-authoritarian embrace of Canadian socialism, and the fact that in Alaska you can pretty much drive or walk away from the state at any time if you feel like it, mitigated these kinds of explosive, manic outbreaks.)

Meet the man behind Comic Sans: That's really just a catchy headline and lede the Guardian editors plucked out to lure you into a more interesting story about the Boring Conference, an event that involves talks on mundane subjects from Antiques Roadshow to how to make pancakes using items you'd find in any average hotel room.

A sample from the Boring Conference's Twitter account:


Canada debates a new sex-workers' bill: The question is whether to go with the "Nordic model" (in which prostitution is legal but paying for it is not, which puts the crime squarely on the client's shoulders), the "New Zealand model" (pimping and brothel ownership are legal and mostly regulated), the "Spanish model" (legal and unregulated by the state, which means controlled by organized crime), or the "German model" (those liberalized laws have paved the way for "mega-brothels" to be opened on the borders with largely immigrant workers).

Obama on his upcoming return to Indian Country: "Together, we’ve resolved longstanding disputes. We settled a discrimination suit by Native American farmers and ranchers, and we’ve taken steps to make sure that all federal farm loan programs are fair to Native Americans from now on. And I signed into law the Claims Resolution Act, which included the historic Cobell settlement, making right years of neglect by the Department of the Interior and leading to the establishment of the Land Buy-Back Program to consolidate Indian lands and restore them to tribal trust lands."

And something for the musical theater nerds: Here's what theater critic Terry Teachout describes as "an extremely rare clip of Ethel Merman appearing on Gypsy, Gypsy Rose Lee’s TV talk show, in 1965. The segment includes footage from home movies shot at rehearsals for the original Broadway production of Gypsy, which was freely based on Lee’s life."