European Member of Parliament, Licia Ronzulli (an MEP from Italy), took her seven-week old daughter, Victoria, to work at the European Parliament in Strasbourg.

European Member of Parliament, Licia Ronzulli (an MEP from Italy), took her seven-week old daughter, Victoria, to work at the European Parliament in Strasbourg.

From WHAT WE SEE: “European Member of Parliament, Licia Ronzulli (an MEP from Italy), took her seven-week old daughter, Victoria, to work at the European Parliament in Strasbourg. [It was not a ‘Take-Your-Child-to-Work’ event.] She kept her baby carefully cradled against her in a wrap and occasionally leant to kiss her on the forehead. This photo was taken as she voted on proposals to improve women’s employment rights and was broadcast and published in newspapers around the world.”

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Kappa Sigma chapter at Duke hosts racist frat party

Kappa Sigma chapter at Duke hosts racist frat party

From NBC 12: “‘Herro Nice Duke Peopre!!’ – That was the heading of an e-mail from the Kappa Sigma chapter at Duke, inviting people to Friday’s ‘Asia Prime’ – an Asian themed frat party, replete with offensive conical hats and geisha outfits. The University’s Asian student association is outraged and is circulating these pictures. The party invitations included a cartoon pic of former N. Korean leader Kim Jong-il with the caption, ‘YOU HAD ME AT HERRO.’ Unacceptable – or harmless frat-house fun?”

This is completely unacceptable. The top comment on the Facebook was that the party was “Harmless drunk fun.” Racism is not harmless, whether or not alcoholism is involved, and should never be considered fun, funny or acceptable. Tossing this party aside as just “harmless,” “drunk,” or “fun” completely eliminates the necessary responsibility that should be taken for these actions. Asian cultural customs and stereotypes are not a laughing matter.

We cannot allow such racism to occur without calling it out for what it is, especially in places of learning. College campuses are home to education, not ignorance. This is NOT “harmless frat-house fun.” This is completely unacceptable.

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The three “I”s of human rights and why they matter

In the second edition of his book Universal Human Rights in Theory and Practice, Jack Donnelly describes human rights as universal, indivisible, interdependent and interrelated (Donnelly 27).  The universality of human rights is fairly straightforward: the foundation of human rights depends on the idea that “all human beings have certain basic rights simply because they are human” (Donnelly 27, 236). If all humans do not have human rights, than calling those rights “human rights” becomes a contradiction in terms.

The three “I”s, however, are a bit more complicated. How are human rights indivisible, interdependent and interrelated, and why does it matter? Human rights are a package deal. This is important not only in theory, but also in practice. Let’s unpack  the terms:

Think of the line from the pledge of allegiance: “One nation, indivisible…” Human rights are indivisible. This means human rights cannot be divided from one another. You cannot separate one from another. They all come as one big group of standards for a life of dignity. For example, one cannot grant housing and health care to a person but withhold food; without food, the individual’s life will be substandard. This is a violation of the person’s human rights.

The interdependence of human rights means that the rights depend on one another. Let’s say one gives a person good health care and good food to eat, but no home in which to live. In this scenario, although the person has food and health care, it will be extremely difficult for them to lead the healthy life that human rights are supposed to offer. Where will the person store the food? If they are sick and need to rest in a warm, safe and dry place to heal, where will they go? Without a place to live, access to food and health care isn’t enough. This is why human rights are interdependent. This person’s rights to health and to food depend on their right to housing. Because human rights are interdependent, they are also interrelated. The relationships among human rights are mutual. You cannot have one without the other – effectively an all or nothing situation.

All or nothing? That certainly seems drastic. However, if we can separate out human rights, we can deny them. If we establish a false hierarchy by deciding what are the “most important” human rights, we create a pyramid of human rights – the things we “need most” forming the base, the things we would “like to have” in the middle, and the “extra stuff” on the top. With this setup, we can deny people access to the “middle” and “top” human rights because those rights are not “required.”

There are a few problems with this. First, the package deal is broken up. The rights are divided which interrupts their mutual dependence and relationship (a roof over your head without dinner on the table, for example). Second, this welcomes differing access to rights that are supposed to be universally granted to all humans. Inevitably, if there’s a false hierarchy established, the created lines will blur between what is “necessary,” what is additionally “preferred,” and what is “fluff.” Finally, this allows us to deny human rights. This means that we permit some people to live lives below the established standards of a life of dignity.

The three generations of human rights also play into all of this, but that’s another post for another day, so stay tuned!

Human rights aren’t simply about surviving; they’re about a life of dignity. The declarations, conventions and other documents on human rights aren’t simply supposed to be theory, but promises to put into practice. In addition to universality, the three “I”s matter because they ensure that all humans have access to all human rights.


Donnelly, Jack.  Universal Human Rights in Theory and Practice, Second Edition.  Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2003.  pp. 27, 236-237.

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Missy Higgins – Hidden Ones

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Scott Lively, ‘Kill The Gays’ Bill Supporter And Evangelist, On Trial For Crimes Against Humanity

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On the agenda in Virginia

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With human abuse linked to animal abuse, we need to make Mitt Romney’s dog abuse relevant

Some people don’t think what someone does to their dog is relevant to whether or not they’d make a good President. I take issue with that in and of itself; treatment of animals it is completely relevant to one’s morality, integrity, and ability to lead. However, even if you disagree with me there, animal abuse has been linked time and time again to human abuse. We cannot have an abuser in the oval office, period. 

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