Posted: May 12, 2013 Filed under: abortion rights, American Gun Fetish, Cats, corporatism, court rulings, Discrimination against women, energy, Environment, Environmental Protection, Gun Control, History, Injustice system, just because, misogyny, Political and Editorial Cartoons, Politics as Usual, Reproductive Health, Reproductive Rights, Republican politics, science, Second Amendment, U.S. Politics, Violence against women, War on Women, Women's Healthcare, Women's Rights | Tags: Mother's Day, Roe v. Wade
Happy Mother’s Day!
For this second half of our Sunday Reads, let’s take a look a variety of topics sandwiched between a couple of items about “Mutha’s Day.”
Anna Jarvis, The Founder of Mother’s Day Later Fought to Have It Abolished
Years after she founded Mother’s Day, Anna Jarvis was dining at the Tea Room at Wanamaker’s department store in Philadelphia. She saw they were offering a “Mother’s Day Salad.” She ordered the salad and when it was served, she stood up, dumped it on the floor, left the money to pay for it, and walked out in a huff. Jarvis had lost control of the holiday she helped create, and she was crushed by her belief that commercialism was destroying Mother’s Day.
Here is a little history of Anna Jarvis and Mother’s Day, in cartoon format, by Steve Brodner. Click on the cartoon to view larger image.
Anna Jarvis, the Radical Behind Mother’s Day | Mother Jones
Makes that “Mother’s Day Salad” protest in the Tea Room at Wanamaker’s department store in Philadelphia all the more symbolic doesn’t it?
In a story that you may have missed last week: University of Montana agrees to reform handling of rape cases | Reuters
The University of Montana has agreed to reform how it responds to rape accusations following a year-long investigation by two U.S. government agencies into complaints such cases were mishandled, federal authorities and the school said on Thursday.
The U.S. departments of justice and education had probed allegations the university failed to aggressively pursue sexual assault and harassment reports, several of which involved football players.
The inquiries stemmed from reports that women on campus had been subjected to unfair treatment that infringed on their civil rights and violated constitutional bans on gender-based discrimination.
“What is noteworthy about this announcement today is not the problems our investigation found at the university, but a shared commitment to the equality of women students and their safety,” Roy Austin, deputy assistant attorney general for the Justice Department’s civil rights division, said in a statement.
Jocelyn Samuels, the division’s principal deputy assistant attorney general, told a news conference that the set of agreements would provide a blueprint for reform for other campuses across the country as they address the “all too common problem of sexual assault and harassment of students.”
Blueprint? I should hope so. But after all this is 2013 and we are talking blueprints when it comes to the “all too common problem of sexual assault and harassment of students.” Seriously? It seems like bullshit to me when the day before this story was published on Reuters, the State Department was dealing with the actual “Blueprints” to make 3-D printed guns.
State Department takes down blueprints for 3D-printable handgun | The Raw Story
The State Department on Thursday ordered the nonprofit Defense Distributed to remove blueprints for the world’s first 3D-printed gun from its website.
“All such data should be removed from public access, the letter says. That might be an impossible standard. But we’ll do our part to remove it from our servers,” Defense Distributed founder Cody Wilson told Forbes.
The department’s Office of Defense Trade Controls Compliance warned Wilson that posting the materials online could be a violation of export controls. The International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) prohibits weapons manufactures from exporting technical data to foreign persons without authorization from the State Department.
“This means that all such data should be removed from public access immediately,” the Office of Defense Trade Controls Compliance said.
The warning from the State Department came just days after Defense Distributed unveiled the blueprints for its plastic single-shot handgun, called the “Liberator.” The firearm can be created by anyone with the blueprints and access to a 3D printer. Defense Distributed also released nine other 3D-printable firearms components.
Well….I think I made my point.
Moving on now to this, Can You Generate Electricity From Plants? Science Says Yes | Geekosystem
Plants use energy from the Sun through photosynthesis, and humans use energy from the Sun through things like solar panels. A new technique created by researchers at the University of Georgia allows humans to get electricity from plants by hijacking the photosynthesis process. This research could someday lead to some very literal power plants.
Cool innit? Go to the link to check it out.
A few weeks ago, we lost a comic genius…Jonathan Winters. I have two articles written by Dick Cavett in the New York Times. Take a few minutes to read them when you can.
With Winters Gone, Can We Be Far Behind? – NYTimes.com
No more Jonathan Winters.
What did we do to deserve this?
I’m just antique enough to remember when Jonathan first hit. Or at least for me. It was the Jack Paar “Tonight Show” and no one had ever seen anything remotely like it.
A slightly chubby, amiable, Midwesternly looking man who could have been an accountant or a bus driver, nicely dressed in dark suit and tie, stepped out, a bit timorously, from behind the curtain and, on the spot and before our eyes, created a whole mad little world.
Missing: Jonathan Winters. Badly. – NYTimes.com
I remember once mentioning the name Jonathan Winters to Groucho Marx.
The reply: “There’s a giant talent.”
Now for some history links, this first one is more about something that is history in the making actually. First black woman named to Ga. Civil War Commission
The first black woman has been appointed to serve on Georgia’s Civil War Commission.
House Speaker David Ralston on Friday selected Inger Eberhart for the post.
The Acworth resident currently serves on the staff of Cobb County Commissioner JoAnn Birrell. She is on the board of advisers of the Dustin Inman Society, which advocates for stricter enforcement of state and federal laws related to immigration.
Oh…that explains it.
Anyway, more history goodies, in link dump fashion:
Family album of Tsar Nicholas II resurfaces in museum exhibition
Held a virtual prisoner by the Bolsheviks months before his execution, Russia’s last Tsar Nicholas II pasted informal snapshots of his family into an album which has now come to light in a Russian provincial museum.
The photographs, most of which have never been seen before, show the last of the Romanov rulers of Russia without pomp and in unguarded moments. Many were taken by Nicholas II himself.
There are many informal photos…with penciled names and dates written on the backs.
History lessons the West refuses to learn
World View: After the Great War, Britain and France carved up the Middle East between them. Now, plans for Syria have the same potential for disaster.
A Political History of the Cicadas
The “Great East Coast Cicada Sex Invasion of 2013” is upon us.
After 17 years of feeding and living under the earth’s surface, billions of “Brood II” cicadas will emerge this summer between Connecticut and Georgia, swarming in thick, forbidding billows of shed exoskeletons and raucous insect lovemaking. (To get an idea of what the cicada mating call sounds like, click here for audio.)
For all their physical creepiness and loud public sex orgies, the (actually completely harmless) bugs have a rich cultural history in the United States. Bob Dylan wrote a song about the cicadas, for instance. But cicadas also have a rich political history in this country. Here are their greatest hits…
The Volokh Conspiracy » Irish Law at Kalamazoo
The 48th International Congress on Medieval Studies begins this Thursday on the campus of Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo. I’m moderating a legal history panel on Thursday at 1:30, in Bernhard 106, called Law as Culture: Secular Punishment and Divine Retribution in Medieval Ireland (Panel 90). Here are the paper titles:
- Beheading, Hanging, and Being Drawn Asunder: Execution in Medieval Ireland
- Property Incursions and Punitive Irish Saints
- Divine Diversion: Divine Retribution as Dispute Resolution and the Norman Invasion of Ireland
H/T to Delphyne for this one: The Medieval and Early Modern Meme Menagerie, or, Grumpy Cat is a Time Lord
I think we’ve finally found a proper Late Medieval or Early Modern Grumpy Cat.
…And, yes, Grumpy Cat is a Time Lord.
I actually love the expression on this little guy….
2. Maxwell, Disapproving Rabbit:
Even before someone discovered the “disapproval face,” Disapproving Rabbit was already fed up with your shit.
Oh, that is sooooooo true!
On to Movie news…
This next link is here because of two things… first, the movie that is mentioned is about Shanghai Kate, the woman who did two of my tattoos back in 1999 and 2000 in NYC. And second, it makes me think of when movies started to use video tape, we had VCRs and Blockbusters. Then it went to DVDs and we had NetFlix and RedBox. Now it is Digital, we still have NetFlix but more and more companies are getting into the groove. Eventually we won’t have anything real to touch or feel…it will all be digital. And that kind of sucks. Los Angeles startup Yekra nets $3M for its digital movie distribution platform
Disney is doing it again: Merida From ‘Brave’ Gets An Unnecessary Makeover, Sparks Change.org Petition (PHOTO)
Merida, “Brave’s” red-headed heroine will be crowned Disney’s 11th princess on May 11. And just in time for her royal induction, the animated character has received a head-to-toe makeover — she’s thinner, her eyes are wider and … Is that miracle anti-frizz solution she’s using? What is going on!?
New Merida, left. Original Merida, right.
Last night, my kids went to see The Great Gatsby with a bunch of their friends. When they came back home after the show, I asked my daughter what she thought of the movie…this was her response.
It was okay, but there was like…no story to it?
Well, that about says it all, doesn’t it.
She laughed and said that when they first walked into the theater there was nothing but “old people” there, and she and her friends were worried that they may have made a mistake by going to see the movie in the first place.
‘Unfilmable’ novels? No such thing, says Hollywood
“As I watched the trailer, I thought, ‘This is for 16-year-olds,’ ” she says. “All of this is about gearing this toward high school and college students who may not have any notion of who Fitzgerald was or what the book actually was.
“They’re not going to care too much about whether this is a well-done adaptation,” she adds. “They’re going to care about whether it’s a Hollywood blockbuster.”
Read the article I linked to, that quote is the last two sentences of the piece, but it fit so well with what my daughter said that I had to put it in here. She also said the music sucked, and my son said the entire thing was crap…well, except for the film quality. He said it was a very “crisp” film.
I really do think there are some books that should not be made into film. My favorite, John Kennedy Toole’s A Confederacy of Dunces, is a perfect example. There is just some things that are too detailed and involved to be parsed down into a 2 hour flick.
Well, I have one more Gatsby link for you, a solemn one. The Great Gatsby: F Scott Fitzgerald’s novels are read by millions, but he was buried in near anonymity
The bard of the Jazz Age shouldn’t be buried here. On a hillside in Hollywood perhaps, where he spent his last, unhappy years, or in glamorous downtown Manhattan – or even in Père Lachaise in Paris, the last resting place of Oscar Wilde and Jim Morrison, among other foreigners who sought inspiration or refuge in the City of Light. But not in the commercial suburbs of Washington DC, among office blocks and strip malls, in a cemetery wedged between a six-lane highway and a railway line.
That, though, is where you find the grave of F Scott Fitzgerald, at St Mary’s Catholic Church in Rockville, Maryland, an Exxon station visible from the spot where he lies. In the pre-car age Rockville must have been a small village in the countryside; the church itself dates from 1817, when America was barely 40 years old. Today, however, it is Anywhere, USA.
Boston Boomer linked to Ginsburg’s comments on Roe v Wade yesterday, oh-oh is right….I thought it should be put on the front page: Justice Ginsburg: Roe v. Wade not ‘woman-centered’ – chicagotribune.com
And finally….5 Ways Motherhood Has Changed Over Time : Discovery News
It’s easy to take the job description of motherhood for granted: Take care of your kids, in whatever way you can. The specifics, though, are a little trickier.
In fact, the meaning and duties of being a mom have undergone great upheaval just in the last century. Should moms work outside the home or stay with the kids full time? Does letting a baby cry scar it or strengthen it? Should moms be praised just for being moms?
The answers to these questions depend on the era in which they’re asked. Throughout U.S. history, moms have been exalted, demonized and exalted again. Their instincts have been questioned and ruled sacrosanct. And they’ve taken the most guilt upon themselves during periods where they spend the most time with their children.
Read on for five ways motherhood has changed in the United States.
So Happy Mother’s Day to you, and for everyone else…enjoy the rest of your Sunday!
Posted: April 7, 2013 Filed under: abortion rights, Barack Obama, Congress, crops, Cuba, Discrimination against women, Environment, Environmental Protection, Farming, Federal Budget, Foreign Affairs, History, legislation, Monsanto, morning reads, Paycheck Fairness Act, PLUB Pro-Life-Until-Birth, racism, Reproductive Rights, Republican politics, right wing hate grouups, the GOP, Women's Healthcare, Women's Rights | Tags: Afro-Cubans, Assholes, CNN, cuba, ERA, Fidel Castro, George A Strock, Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, Roberto Zurbano, Soladad O'Brien
We have come to the end of spring break, it is amazing to me how fast time flies by…I have some interesting links for you, some of them I have saved for a little while, you may just want to come back to them during the day.
By the way, later tonight is the season premiere of Mad Men, I don’t know about you…but I sure am looking forward to it.
Y’all know that CNN made the huge mistake of sacking Soledad O’Brien last month. The Guardian had an article about her last appearance on the network:
CNN’s Soledad O’Brien signs off with call for ‘tough conversations’
CNN anchor Soledad O’Brien at belated 60th birthday celebrations for Chaka Khan. Photograph: Startraks Photo / Rex Features
CNN host Soledad O’Brien signed off on Friday with a call for the network not to back away from “tough and honest conversations”.
O’Brien, who has built a reputation for hard-hitting interviews, said on the last edition of her morning show, Starting Point, that “facts matter”.
The new CNN boss, Jeff Zucker, cancelled O’Brien’s show, which has performed poorly in the ratings, and announced on Thursday that it will be replaced by a new show hosted by Chris Cuomo and Kate Bolduan.
In a short closing monologue on Friday, O’Brien said CNN had given her the chance to cover some of the biggest stories of our time and said she would continue to focus on “good journalism”.
She said: “My tenure at the helm of this show ends today, and I’m not going to be covering daily news at CNN after today. Over the last decade at CNN I’ve had a really great chance to cover some of the biggest stories, I think it’s fair to say, of our time.”
O’Brien recalled when she and a CNN team received a standing ovation at the airport in New Orleans after covering hurricane Katrina.
“So I think if I’ve learned anything over the past year it’s that facts matter,” she continued. “And we shouldn’t be afraid to have tough and honest conversations and maybe even argue a little bit when there’s a lot at stake, and yes, Governor Sununu, I am talking to you.”
You remember that interview don’t you? Soladad kicked Sununu’s ass! O’Brien told the Guardian that CNN did not provide a lot of support for her show Starting Point. They did not get a lot of promotion and were not fully staffed. No wonder, with CNN going down the shit bucket of news. In fact, you need to see this bit Jon Stewart did this past week:
Jon Stewart Tears Apart CNN: Neither Left Nor Right, But On A ‘Steady Spiral Downward’
Stewart then turned to CNN, a network that is neither leaning left nor right, but is instead on a “steady spiral downward.” He took on the new approach of CNN executive Jeff Zucker to the news, mockingly saying things like “I love brunch! Who doesn’t love brunch? That’s news!”
Stewart brought up some graphic faux pas of CNN, including (for some reason) a CNN personality standing in the middle of a virtual field of goats. And most egregiously of all, CNN showed off a live recreation of the Jodi Arias crime scene, complete with dead boyfriend in a pool of blood on the floor.
Of course, new changes don’t come without new show experiments, and following the success of The Five and The Cycle, CNN is testing out a new primetime show called (Get To) The Point. Stewart figured CNN must have “mistook what people are constantly yelling” at the screen for a show pitch. He showed clips of the show’s hosts talking about important subjects like lizard people and vegetarians who eat bacon.
What Stewart loved the most about the show was that when promos for this new program appear on the screen during other CNN shows, it looks like a subtle jab at whoever’s talking to get to the damn point already.
Go watch the video clips…my gawd, what shit CNN is pulling out their ass now a days!
Now, this next article is something I also saved from a while back, funny how it has caused quite a controversy of late….anyway, you know that my father’s family came from Cuba back in the late 1800′s. Here is a photograph of the town Marti City, in Ocala, Florida where my great-great grandfather had one of his cigar factories. In 1890s, cigar industry flourished, died in Ocala
A horse-drawn trolley, shown in Marti City, ran south from Ocala’s railroad station along North Magnolia to Broadway, turned west and followed Broadway to haul passengers and freight to the cigar factories at Marti City.
Well, I usually share links about Cuba with you all, and this article was one I was looking forward to sharing. For Blacks in Cuba, the Revolution Hasn’t Begun by Roberto Zurbano
Alex Webb/Magnum Photos
“Havana, 2013” More Photos »
CHANGE is the latest news to come out of Cuba, though for Afro-Cubans like myself, this is more dream than reality. Over the last decade, scores of ridiculous prohibitions for Cubans living on the island have been eliminated, among them sleeping at a hotel, buying a cellphone, selling a house or car and traveling abroad. These gestures have been celebrated as signs of openness and reform, though they are really nothing more than efforts to make life more normal. And the reality is that in Cuba, your experience of these changes depends on your skin color.
Please, before you do anything else go and read that editorial…because it was written by a man who was fired for saying what he felt was true. Check it out: Writer of Times Op-Ed on Racism in Cuba Loses Job
The editor of a publishing house in Cuba who wrote a critical article in The New York Times opinion section about persistent racial inequality on the island, something revolutionaries proudly say has lessened, has been removed from his post, associates said on Friday.
The author, Roberto Zurbano, in an article published March 23, described a long history of racial discrimination against blacks on the island and said “racial exclusion continued after Cuba became independent in 1902, and a half century of revolution since 1959 has been unable to overcome it.”
On Friday, The Havana Times blog reported that Mr. Zurbano had told a gathering of Afro-Cuban advocates that he had been dismissed from his post at the publishing house of the Casa de las Americas cultural center, leaving the implication that the dismissal was connected to the article. Other associates said Mr. Zurbano told them he had been removed but would continue working there.
There is a lot more to it than there appears to be…
Reached by telephone in Havana, Mr. Zurbano would not comment on his employment. “What is The New York Times going to do about it?” he asked. He angrily condemned the editors of the opinion section for a change in the headline that he felt had distorted his theme.
The article’s headline, which was translated from Spanish, was “For Blacks in Cuba, the Revolution Hasn’t Begun,” but Mr. Zurbano said that in his version it had been “Not Yet Finished.”
“They changed the headline without consulting me,” he said. “It was a huge failure of ethics and of professionalism.”
Eileen Murphy, a spokeswoman for The Times, said the editor stood by the article’s preparation.
“We worked very hard to ensure that the wording in the piece was translated properly and accurately reflected the writer’s point of view,” she said in a statement. “There were numerous versions of the piece sent back and forth, and in the end, Mr. Zurbano and our contact for him (who speaks fluent English) signed off on the final version.”
“We knew,” she added, “that Mr. Zurbano was in a sensitive situation, and we are saddened if he has indeed been fired or otherwise faced persecution, but we stand by our translation and editing, which was entirely along normal channels.”
Believe me, there is an underlying racism within the Cuban community and to say there isn’t is bullshit. Yes, it is taboo to speak of it too. However, there is a history in a little town in Florida of Cuban whites and blacks coming together to fight for labor rights.
Restaurant in Havana, note the Albinos allowed sign.
My great-great grandfather Nicholas Santana owned a cigar factory and was partners with a black-Cuban named Sorondo who had connections with Jose Marti.
Sanborn Fire Insurance Map of 1895, Ocala FL, Marti City. My great-great grandfather’s cigar factory, Santana, Sorondo & CO., is located on the bottom left corner.
In Ybor City, Florida…you could find a small pocket of intelligence within the Southern land of Jim Crow, for racism was not prevalent in that little area of Italian, Spanish, Black, White immigrants who mostly worked for the many cigar factories. There were many Afro-Cubans, both women and men, involved in the cigar factory labor strikes in Tampa, Florida, many years ago…they were fighting with their white brothers and sisters for workers rights.
Revolution is part of the Cuban culture, and I do believe that it is fair to say that for the Black-Cuban, the revolution is not finished. It just barely started and has been put on hold, it needs to get back in gear. Racism is alive in Cuba, there is no doubt about that. And the fact that Zurbano was fired says a lot about how things are handled in Cuba.
Speaking of Cuba, there was this bit of celebrity down there: Useful Idiots: Beyoncé And Jay-Z Ignore Cuba’s Racism With Havana Trip
This week, superstars Beyoncé and Jay-Z celebrated their 5th wedding anniversary with a trip to Cuba or, as the informed refer to it, “the island prison.”
While dining, partying, and enjoying the best Havana has to offer, Beyoncé and Jay-Z not only legitimize and support the repressive regime, with both their presence and their cash, but turn a blind eye, cruelly, to the perils and languishing of the Cuban people.
Both stars are proud African-Americans — yet, curiously, chose to vacation in a country notorious for relegating its black population to second-class status, or worse.
It is no surprise that many of Cuba’s top dissidents are Afro-Cubans. Did Sasha Fierce and Jigga Man find time to meet with these brave souls, or with their families? Did they mention them? Did they even think of them?
Of course not! This was not a trip to discover truth…or to learn about history or even music. Take a look at the link for a list of Afro-Cubans advocates who have either been imprisoned or killed for speaking out against the racism.
But why stop Cuba’s racism, and its atrocious human rights record, from getting in the way of a good time? After all, Jay-Z is the ‘artist’ who famously raps: “Welcome to Havana, smoking cubanos with Castro in cabanas!”
All Jay and “B,” useful idiots extraordinaire, seem to hear when visiting Cuba is: “Extra sugar on that mojito, señor?” Never mind the life-long plight of the Afro-Cuban waiter serving that drink, who casts a longing, hopeful look in their direction, only to be met with an aloof, distant smile from the two callous multi-millionaires who, while sharing his skin color, could not care less about his plight.
The photo-journalism report that went with the Zurbano op/ed can be seen here: The Ambiguous Island – Slide Show – NYTimes.com Again, I urge you to go take a look at those images.
Now, one more link out of that little Island nation down south…this made me laugh a little, Fidel Castro to North Korea: Chill
Cuba’s seemingly immortal former leader Fidel Castro, who knows a thing or two about threats of nuclear destruction, is asking both Kim Jong-un and Barack Obama to think before they do anything stupid. “The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea was always friendly with Cuba, as Cuba always has been and will continue to be with her,” Castro wrote in his first state media op-ed in almost nine months, but “this is one of the gravest risks of nuclear war since the October Crisis in 1962 involving Cuba, 50 years ago.”
“Now that it has demonstrated its technical and scientific advances, we remind it of its duties to other countries who have been great friends and that it would not be just to forget that such a war would affect in a special way more than 70 percent of the world’s population,” wrote Castro, who’s apparently gone soft in his old age.
While the situation in the Koreas is “incredible and absurd,” he added, he warned Obama that if bombing breaks out, he “would be buried by a flood of images that would present him as the most sinister figure in U.S. history. The duty to avoid [war)]also belongs to him and the people of the United States.”
It seems like some sort of SNL skit, doesn’t it? Castro calling North Korea “incredible and absurd.”
Okay, you want real absurd? In Tennessee some asshole is putting forward a law that makes welfare payments dependent upon the student’s grades. Tennessee Gets Closer to Passing Bill That Ties Welfare to School Grades
A Tennessee bill that would cut welfare benefits of parents with children performing poorly in school cleared committees of both the House and Senate last week.
The measure takes “a carrot and stick approach,” one of the sponsors of the bill, Rep. Vance Dennis, R-Savannah, told the Knoxville News and Sentinel.
Seth Freed Wessler summarized the bill last month on Colorlines.com:
A Tennessee lawmaker introduced legislation last week to stop welfare payments to parents if their kids get bad grades in school. The sponsor, State Senator Stacy Campfield said, “One of the top tickets to break the chain of poverty is education.” But he added, “We have done little to hold [parents] accountable for their child’s performance.”
The bill would chop nearly a third of family’s Temporary Aid for Needy Families benefits, already a pittance, if their child fails to pass state competency tests or get’s held back. How exactly the threat to make poor people poorer will improve educational outcomes isn’t at all clear.
The bill is sponsored by Sen. Stacey Campfield, R-Knoxville, and Rep. Vance Dennis, R-Savannah. It calls for a 30 percent reduction in Temporary Assistance for Needy Families benefits to parents whose children are not making satisfactory progress in school, the Knoxville News and Sentinel reported.
You know what? My kids are not from a “broken” home, and both their parents and grandparents are college graduates…and they struggle in school. They do not get A’s and B’s…so this would be a disaster in terms of assistance if we were a “needy” family. I mention my kids performance at school because even with positive backgrounds and no worries about food and a place to sleep, a kid can be a disappointment when it comes to their grades. This is a horrible law…damn these GOP assholes.
In another education link: Can Computers Teach Students to Write Better?
Bet you can guess the answer to that.
Alright, moving on…Juan Cole had an excellent post this past week: Congress Obsessed with American Muslims, Neglects real threat of White Supremacists | Informed Comment
The shooting of Kaufman, Texas district attorney Mike McLelland and his wife Cynthia remains a mystery. But investigators are increasingly looking into a cell of extremist white terrorists as the suspects. Two months ago, a county assistant district attorney, Mark Hasse, was murdered not far from his office at the court. (I used the term extremist white terrorists because that is what they are, but usually the American press only describes foreigners and Muslims as terrorists, while calling whites “extremists.”)
Likewise, a gang of white terrorists is suspected in the recent slaying of the head of Colorado’s prison system.
Rep. Peter King (R-NY) and other Islamophobes in Congress, seeking to look good to campaign donors who hate Muslims, has conducted several hearings on the alleged increased radicalization of American Muslims. Sociologists don’t find evidence of such a thing; American Muslims on the whole are relatively well-integrated into US society and are disproportionately well off and pillars of the society. The hearings are a form of McCarthyism.
No one was killed or injured in the US in 2012 by terrorists of Muslim heritage, and only 14 Americans of Muslim heritage were even indicted for violent plots. Only one act of violence was traced to such a group, which produced no casualties.
Rep. Peter King is a big supporter of the old 1980s Irish Republican Army, which killed two Americans in a bombing at Harrod’s department store in London. The man’s feet won’t touch the ground when he walks because of the rivers of hypocrisy exuding from between his toes.
Read the rest at the link.
Like I said at the beginning of this morning’s reads, lots of links for you today. More after the jump.
Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: April 4, 2013 Filed under: Women's Healthcare | Tags: female mortality rates in the USA
I suppose I should tell you more about what this multi-colored map of the US means before asking a set of questions including wtf is wrong with our country? No, this isn’t an indicator of which counties in the USA are ‘red’ v. ‘blue’ in the republican vs. democratic party scheme of things. However, before we go much further, I would like you to notice that most of the blue areas do line up with more democratically-inclined parts of the country. I can’t say that there’s a correlation however beyond the eyeball kind because that’s not in the data set.
What is in the data set should appall you. Red means “worsening” female mortality.
There is a frightening graph in a recent article in Health Affairs by David Kindig and Erika Cheng. Kindig and Cheng looked at trends in male and female mortality rates from 1992–96 to 2002–06 in 3,140 US counties. What they found was that female mortality rates increased in 42.8% of counties (male mortality rates increased in only 3.4%). The counties are mapped below: red means that female mortality worsened. You can see a strong regional pattern: just about every county showed had worsened female mortality in several southern states, while no county showed such decline in New England. There are many questions about what explains this pattern. For example, did healthier women migrate out of the south from 1992 to 2006? Nevertheless, the map depicts a shocking pattern of female hardship, primarily in the southeast and midwest.
Read that bolded (mine) statement again. It’s an outrageous statement of fact representing an unbelievable statement of what the current and future outlook of the USA will be. This undoubtedly impacts children too.
“Although we are accustomed to seeing varying rates of mortality reduction in states and nations,” Kindig and Cheng write, “it is striking and discouraging to find female mortality rates on the rise in 42.8 percent of US counties, despite increasing medical care expenditures and public health efforts.”
Kindig and Cheng looked at a number of factors that might give some context for why female morality went up in some counties but down in others. A somewhat surprising finding was that the availability of medical care — measured by the number of primary care providers or percentage of uninsured — didn’t really make a difference.
“Female mortality rates were not predicted by any of the medical care factors,” they write.
What could predict worsening mortality rates, however, were socioeconomic factors.
“Many people believe that medical care and individual behaviors such as exercise, diet, and smoking are the primary reasons for declines in health,” the authors write. “We did find significant associations between mortality rates and some of these factors, such as smoking rates for both sexes. But socioeconomic factors such as the percentage of a county’s population with a college education and the rate of children living in poverty had equally strong or stronger relationships to fluctuations in mortality rates.”
Here’s a great question by Incidental Economist Austin Frakt. (Bold mine again.)
I speculate, but do not have the expertise to test, that what we are seeing is that the widely discussed increase in economic inequality in late 20th century America is also an increase in geographic inequality. My guess is that not only are rich Americans rapidly pulling ahead of poor Americans, but that these groups are also increasingly segregated by region.
It takes a family and a village to raise a child. What happens when the moms in the village all get crushed?
Just think about this in terms of the number of women that will not be able to access health care in the near future because Legislatures in those same states are defunding Planned Parenthood which is one of the major source of low-cost to free healthcare for low income women? I’m shuddering at what those same statistics will grow to in the next five years. We need to seriously rethink our priorities in this country.
Posted: April 3, 2013 Filed under: Civil Liberties, Civil Rights, religious extremists, Vagina, War on Women, We are so F'd, Women's Healthcare, Women's Rights | Tags: north carolina religious extremists
I’m not the the resident psychologist here, but I really feel hyper-religiousity is a fricking mental disease. I know it is a social one. I have no idea why some people feel they have the right and duty to plaster their religious beliefs all over the rest of us, but it is clearly not an American idea. Here’s the latest whackadoodle attempt to do an end run around our constitution by a cluster of bananas in North Carolina.
The Constitution “does not grant the federal government and does not grant the federal courts the power to determine what is or is not constitutional” according to a resolution sponsored by North Carolina House Majority Leader Edgar Starnes (R) and ten of his fellow Republicans — a statement that puts them at odds with over 200 years of constitutional law. In light of this novel reading of the Constitution, Starnes and his allies also claim that North Carolina is free to ignore the Constitution’s ban on government endorsement of religion:
SECTION 1. The North Carolina General Assembly asserts that the Constitution of the United States of America does not prohibit states or their subsidiaries from making laws respecting an establishment of religion.
SECTION 2. The North Carolina General Assembly does not recognize federal court rulings which prohibit and otherwise regulate the State of North Carolina, its public schools, or any political subdivisions of the State from making laws respecting an establishment of religion.
This resolution is nothing less than an effort to repudiate the result of the Civil War. As the resolution correctly notes, the First Amendment merely provides that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion,” and, indeed, the Bill of Rights was originally understood to only place limits on the federal government. For the earliest years of the Republic, the Bill of Rights were not really “rights” at all, but were instead guidelines on which powers belonged to central authorities and which ones remained exclusively in the hands of state lawmakers.
In 1868, however the Fourteenth Amendment was ratified for the express purpose of changing this balance of power. While the early Constitution envisioned “rights” as little more than a battle between central and local government, the Fourteenth Amendment ushered in a more modern understanding. Under this amendment, “[n]o State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States,” nor may any state “deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law.” The Fourteenth Amendment completely transformed the nature of the American Republic, from one where liberties were generally protected — if at all — by tensions between competing governments to one which recognized that there are certain liberties that cannot be abridged by any government.
So, a few folk want a state religion in North Carolina because sectarian opening prayers just aren’t pious enough for them.
A bill filed by Republican lawmakers would allow North Carolina to declare an official religion, in violation of the Establishment Clause of the U.S. Bill of Rights, and seeks to nullify any federal ruling against Christian prayer by public bodies statewide.
The legislation grew out of a dispute between the American Civil Liberties Union and the Rowan County Board of Commissioners. In a federal lawsuit filed last month, the ACLU says the board has opened 97 percent of its meetings since 2007 with explicitly Christian prayers.
Overtly Christian prayers at government meetings are not rare in North Carolina. Since the Republican takeover in 2011, the state Senate chaplain has offered an explicitly Christian invocation virtually every day of session, despite the fact that some senators are not Christian.
In a 2011 ruling on a similar lawsuit against the Forsyth County Board of Commissioners, the Fourth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals did not ban prayer at government meetings outright, but said prayers favoring one religion over another are unconstitutional.
“To plant sectarian prayers at the heart of local government is a prescription for religious discord,” the court said. “Where prayer in public fora is concerned, the deep beliefs of the speaker afford only more reason to respect the profound convictions of the listener. Free religious exercise posits broad religious tolerance.”
Supplanting modernity, science, rationale thought and replacing it with government mandated religious views is the agenda here. Here’s another good example. RNC Chair Reince Preibus thinks he knows more than doctors. He equates letting doctors and women decide about the outcomes of late term abortions–and possibly pre-term births–to infanticide.
In an article published Wednesday on the conservative website RedState, Republican National Committee chairman Reince Priebus blasted Democrats for supporting Planned Parenthood, while floating the damning suggestion that the likes of President Barack Obama and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) support infanticide.
“The President, the Senate Majority Leader, the House Democratic Leader, and the Chair of the Democratic National Committee (in whose home state this hearing occurred) made funding Planned Parenthood an issue in the 2012 campaign,” Priebus wrote. “They should now all be held to account for that outspoken support. If the media won’t, then voters must ask the pressing questions: Do these Democrats also believe a newborn has no rights? Do they also endorse infanticide?”
Priebus appeared to predicate much of his piece on recent testimony from a Planned Parenthood lobbyist before the Florida legislature. The lobbyist was posed a number of hypotheticals on what the women’s healthcare organization would do if a baby survived a botched abortion.
“Not once in her testimony did the Planned Parenthood representative say the newborn baby has a right to life. Not once did she say anyone has a duty to care for the child,” Priebus wrote. “Whether the living, breathing child survives is up to the adults in the room because, as we now know, Planned Parenthood doesn’t believe the baby has rights.”
Who better knows the outcome of this situation? The State? Priestb00 and his merry band of republican religious nuts?
This reminds me of the attempts in Louisiana and other places to drain money from public schools to religious-based schools. Republicans are horrified to think that religions other than their own might have access to the funds. This is playing out in Tennessee right now.
Republican lawmakers in Tennessee are threatening to block Republican Gov. Bill Haslam’s school voucher bill over fears that Muslim schools could receive funding.
The Knoxville News Sentinel reported on Monday that Haslam hinted that he would withdraw his bill after objections from Republican lawmakers that it was not broad enough and that the vouchers could be used by Islamic schools.
Over the weekend, state Sen. Jim Tracy (R) had told The Murfreesboro Post that he had “considerable concern” that tax dollars could go to schools that teach principles from the Quran.
Tracy, who is on the Senate Education Committee and identifies himself as a member of the Church of Christ, insisted that Islamic school funding was an “an issue we must address” before the voucher bill can go forward.
“I don’t know whether we can simply amend the bill in such a way that will fix the issue at this point,” he said.
Yes, there is one Muslim school in Memphis that would have access to state funds under the bill. So, it’s wrong to fund Muslim schools, but you can guess which religious schools should be the only ones funded by government.
Look, I have nothing against other people’s free practice of religion. There are at least two great places for that to happen. The places are called THEIR home and THEIR place of worship. Every place else should be a religion-free zone. It’s obvious these folks didn’t get a very good education in American history or political thought. For that matter, the don’t appear to have been well-educated in much else. OR, they are just plain crazy. I’m going with the latter.
Posted: April 2, 2013 Filed under: Vagina, Violence against women, Women's Healthcare, Women's Rights | Tags: devolution
I’ve been wondering about this question since we’re beginning to see a number of male politicians ‘evolve’ on the subject of marriage equality. At the same time, restrictions on women’s access to abortion, birth control, and basic health care needs has taken a terrible hit. Why are women’s rights always the last priority? Rights shouldn’t be a zero sum game.
According to Daniel Cox, the Public Religion Research Institute’s research director, there’s been a recent “decoupling” of abortion rights and LGBT rights — whereas they were assumed to go hand-in-hand as recently as the mid-2000s, that’s not necessarily the case anymore. The shifting reality is evident in the polling over the past several decades. As support for legal abortion has remained fairly steady, hovering at just over 50 percent, support for marriage equality is on a clear upward trajectory and recently soared to a record high.
So why are social conservatives losing the battle against LGBT equality but winning the war on women’s reproductive rights? There’s no one answer to explain the growing momentum for marriage equality and the simultaneous record-breaking restrictions on abortion services, particularly since the LGBT movement and the reproductive rights movement have very different histories. But Cox told the Washington Post that it could partly be due to public awareness and the increased visibility of LGBT people. “In our research, having a close friend that’s gay or lesbian can have a profound impact on support,” Cox explained. “We see this across Democrats, Republicans, and Evangelicals. It really cuts across a lot of demographics and, in a lot of ways, is more powerful than ideology.”
The same isn’t true for women who have abortions. Most Americans know someone who is gay or lesbian, but they often don’t have the same personal connections with women’s own abortion stories. That’s not because women who have abortions are rare — in fact, one in three U.S. women has had an abortion by the time she is 45 years old — but rather because of a lingering stigma surrounding this aspect of women’s reproductive care. That societal stigma ultimately dissuades women from being open about their experiences with abortion by reinforcing messages about how the procedure is morally depraved, something to be ashamed of, and something women always regret.
That’s why women’s health advocates encourage a “coming out” model for the women who have chosen to terminate a pregnancy, similar to the process within the LGBT community. If politicians like Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH) can “evolve” on pro-equality policies because they have personal connections with gay and lesbian individuals, perhaps they will also consider supporting a wider range of pro-woman policies if they hear more from women in their lives who have chosen an abortion. But until women feel safe to share their stories without shame and stigmatization, that isn’t likely to happen.
It’s not just about abortion. Look at the resurgence of ignorant comments about rape and domestic violence. Look at the lack of discussion on the ‘family annihilator’ in discussions on mass murderers. Far more women are murdered by their spouses and the men in their lives than we’ve got public official murdered by neo-nazi cults within the prison system but which topic grabs more headlines? We live in a culture of men that claim that women ‘ask for it’. The problem is that their definition of ‘it’ is not ours.
I am very happy about the increasing number of people that believe our GLBT citizens should not have to live in a perpetual state of second class citizenship. But, isn’t it about getting every one to that level? Religious persecution of GLBT and women has been quite evident recently. But, women have not been able to sustain their rights while the GLBT community is expanding theirs. How is this possible? Is it because part of the GLBT community is male? After all, lesbians—while being able to access marriage now–will still find themselves on the short end of their civil rights in the area of access to equal pay for equal work, maternity leave and a bevy of other rights. They will still be second class citizens as women while gay men can be out of the closet and still gain access to male privilege; especially if they are white.
Toxic masculinity is still pervasive in our culture. It knows no bounds.
I’ve been thinking a lot about Rick Ross as of late, given all the controversy surrounding him and his disgusting, indefensible lyrics condoning rape (and his subsequent non-apology that was almost as bad as lyric that prompted it). In a way, I feel partially responsible, having been a fan of Ross’ music despite the overt misogyny, and I’ve had to wrestle with what exactly draws me to his music. His first two albums sucked, but somewhere around Deeper than Rap he mastered the craft of constructing anthemic tracks well-suited for driving around aimlessly on a perfectly sunny day with no concern for the rabid flock of imaginary haters or your carbon footprint.
But that was never the sum of his appeal. And in one of those epiphanies that only come when you’re in the shower or meditating or high (I don’t smoke, I was in the shower), it finally hit me: Rick Ross is basically hip-hop’s version of Don Draper.
I don’t mean to compare the rapper and Mad Men’s leading character’s status as sex symbols, because the parallels go beyond the superficial. They are both products of fiction. They’re both identity thieves whose actual life stories hold the potential to ostracize them from their chosen communities. But more importantly, they both have constructed elaborate fantasy worlds around an idea of masculinity they know isn’t true to who they are. And neither one can escape.
It is little wonder that we have still have men who believe women ‘ask’ to be raped by the way they dress, by drinking alcohol or by just being with men without a body guard. It’s also evident that the misogynist culture of many religious institutions is running rampant in statehouses around the country. In all of the report card discussion in the republican party, there is talk of appealing to many minority groups. They’re speaking of moderating or some issues However, there is still no discussion of going back to the party’s support of the ERA, its abortion rights stance, and its general support of women’s equality. Why is our country ‘evolving’ on the rights of GLBT and “devolving” on the rights of women? Are we the expendable citizens?
Doesn’t Rob Portman have a wife or a mother? Don’t some of these folks evolve because they have daughters? There is nothing more pervasive than misogyny and the pink ghetto.