Russian judge: Sexual harassment a patriotic duty

A 22-year-old St. Petersburg ad executive who was hoping to become the third woman in Russian history to successfully sue for sexual harassment (yes, you read that right) just had her case thrown out. Here was the judge's reasoning:

If we had no sexual harassment we would have no children."

Well I guess that's settled then.

Reversing Russia's population decline is a major priority for Russia's government, but this isn't exactly the most enlightened way to address the problem. Conditions for working women in the country are already in a sad state:

According to a recent survey, 100 percent of female professionals said they had been subjected to sexual harassment by their bosses, 32 percent said they had had intercourse with them at least once and another seven percent claimed to have been raped.

Telling male bosses that this is their patriotic duty is probably not going to help.

(Thanks to my friend Emily for the link.)


Boris Johnson takes a holiday


Reeling in the polls and mindful of the criticism generated by his predecessor's trips abroad, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown isn't venturing too far for his summer vacation. But Boris Johnson, London's candid Conservative mayor, thinks this is a bad idea.

In Daily Telegraph column last week, Johnson proclaimed he will eschew the lead of many of his colleagues in British politics and is heading overseas:

Some time before the end of August, I will grab a week's leave, like a half-starved sealion snatching an airborne mackerel, and whatever happens that leave will not be taken in some boarding-house in Eastbourne. It will not take place in Cornwall or Scotland or the Norfolk Broads. I say stuff Skegness. I say bugger Bognor.

I am going to take a holiday abroad, and in my view it would be absurd, hypocritical and frankly inhumane to do anything else...

Johnson has some words of wisdom for Brown, too, encouraging the embattled prime minister to take a real vacation and "get away somewhere hot." Above all else, however, Johnson considers his overseas holiday to be for the good of Britain:

As I prepare for my last-minute booking, I consider it my patriotic duty to find a destination as sunny and foreign as possible, so that I can push some cash towards hard-pressed UK travel agents, and so that we minimise, on compassionate grounds, the number of British citizens exposed to the sight of my swimming trunks.

Barack Obama, at the very least, must be feeling along the same lines. He'll be heading for his native Hawaii sometime in mid-August.