Snowy Evening Open Thread: Women? Who Cares!

l-lmo6n6238yk9cqGood Evening

Many of you have read about the sequester, or the filibuster being conducted by Rand the Nut Man…this post will have none of that.

This thread is going to focus on a few news items about women. I will start with this essay from The Atlantic.  When America Was Female by  Garance Franke-Ruta

Uncle Sam’s older, classier sister Columbia fell out of favor after women got the vote. Maybe it’s time to bring her back.

The photos of the historic suffragette March on Washington on March 3, 1913, that were all over the place over the weekend were a reminder of how far America has come in the last century, and of how much American women have been at the forefront of pushing the international rights of women forward. But as I admired their bonnets and their courage, their side-buttoned boots and hooded woolen cloaks and looks of fierce determination, the women in the 100-year-old images also raised for me some slightly more prosaic questions.

Why were some staging tableaux wearing breastplates and laurels? Who were they dressed as? And — perhaps more importantly — why can’t contemporary feminists have costumes that are as regal and classical as those of 1913 — instead of Code Pink’s vulgar giant magenta lady bits?


The answer, it turns out, is that Uncle Sam had a much older and classier sister named Columbia, the feminine historic personification of the United States of America, who has since the 1920s largely fallen out of view. But she was as recognizable to Americans of yesteryear as the man in the top-hat and tails remains today, and when the suffragettes donned robes and armor, they garbed themselves in her rebel warrior’s spirit. From the 18th century until the early decades of the 20th, Columbia was the gem of the ocean, a mythical and majestic personage whose corsets or breast-plates curved out of her striped or starred or swirling skirts with all the majesty of a shield. She was honored from the birth of the nation — “Hail, Columbia!”, whose score was first composed for the inauguration of President Washington, was an unofficial anthem until the “Star-Spangled Banner” displaced it as the official national one in 1931 — to the birth of the recording and film industries, which is why we have had Columbia Records and Columbia Pictures. Yes, that lady with the torch at the start of the movies isn’t just some period-costume-wearing chick — she is a relic of this earlier personification of America

Take a look at the rest of the article. I think bringing back Columbia is a wonderful idea. When you finish reading it, go ahead and read the comments. Typical of course, but it still pisses me off when I read them.

Meanwhile, the latest law against a woman’s right to make her own damn decisions was passed today. Arkansas Adopts Restrictive Abortion Law

In the sharpest challenge yet to Roe v. Wade, Arkansas adopted Wednesday what is by far the country’s most restrictive ban on abortion, at 12 weeks of pregnancy, around the time that a fetal heartbeat can be detected by abdominal ultrasound.

The law was passed by the newly Republican-controlled legislature over the veto of Gov. Mike Beebe, a Democrat, who called it “blatantly unconstitutional.” On Tuesday the state Senate voted to override his veto by a vote of 20 to 14; on Wednesday the House enacted the bill into law by a vote of 55 to 33, with several Democrats joining the Republican majority.

The law contradicts the limit established by Supreme Court decisions, which give women a right to an abortion until the fetus is viable outside the womb, usually around 24 weeks into pregnancy, and abortion rights groups promised a quick lawsuit to block it.

Adoption of the law, called the “Human Heartbeat Protection Act,” is the first statewide victory for a restless emerging faction within the anti-abortion movement that has lost patience with the incremental whittling away at abortion rights — the strategy of established groups like National Right to Life and the Catholic Church while they wait for a more sympathetic Supreme Court.

Isn’t the court already leaning right? Honestly…twelve weeks? I did not even know I was pregnant with my daughter till I was three months. This Arkansas law is ridiculous.

And if you think the US has some f’d up treatment toward women, this series of investigative articles from the Guardian will make you shake your head in disgust.

Get this…police “spies” would become involved with women…even having children with them, just to get the goods on political activists staging protests.  They would spend years with these women, only to disappear into thin air. The spies also stole the identities of dead children, which is causing another kind of anguish…that of the families of the dead who must deal with the shock of finding out the cops are making a mockery of their loss.

I have two articles below…be sure to read the entire piece at the Guardian.

Police spies stole identities of dead children | UK news | The Guardian

John Dines

John Dines, an undercover police sergeant, as he appeared in the early 1990s when he posed as John Barker, a protester against capitalism

Britain’s largest police force stole the identities of an estimated 80 dead children and issued fake passports in their names for use by undercover police officers.

The Metropolitan police secretly authorised the practice for covert officers infiltrating protest groups without consulting or informing the children’s parents.

The details are revealed in an investigation by the Guardian, which has established how over three decades generations of police officers trawled through national birth and death records in search of suitable matches.

Undercover officers created aliases based on the details of the dead children and were issued with accompanying identity records such as driving licences and national insurance numbers. Some of the police officers spent up to 10 years pretending to be people who had died.

The Met said the practice was not “currently” authorised, but announced an investigation into “past arrangements for undercover identities used by SDS [Special Demonstration Squad] officers”.

Keith Vaz, the chairman of parliament’s home affairs select committee, said he was shocked at the “gruesome” practice. “It will only cause enormous distress to families who will discover what has happened concerning the identities of their dead children,” he said. “This is absolutely shocking.”

Ah, shocking…as shocking as the Sky News scandal where we found detectives and cops were tipping off Sky News reporters and editors of potential material.

Anyway, here look at this:  Police spies: in bed with a fictional character | UK news | The Guardian

He was a burly, funny scouser called Mark Cassidy. His girlfriend – a secondary school teacher he shared a flat with for four years – believed they were almost “man and wife”. Then, in 2000, as the couple were discussing plans for the future, Cassidy suddenly vanished, never to be seen again.

An investigation by the Guardian has established that his real name is Mark Jenner. He was an undercover police officer in the Metropolitan police’s special demonstration squad (SDS), one of two units that specialised in infiltrating protest groups.

His girlfriend, whose story can be told for the first time as her evidence to a parliamentary inquiry is made public, said living with a police spy has had an “enormous impact” on her life.

“It has impacted seriously on my ability to trust, and that has impacted on my current relationship and other subsequent relationships,” she said, adopting the pseudonym Alison. “It has also distorted my perceptions of love and my perceptions of sex.”

Alison is one of four women to testify to the House of Commons home affairs select committee last month.

Another woman said she had been psychologically traumatised after discovering that the father of her child, who she thought had disappeared, was Bob Lambert, a police spy who vanished from her life in the late 1980s.

A third woman, speaking publicly for the first time about her six-year relationship with Mark Kennedy, a police officer who infiltrated environmental protest groups, said: “You could … imagine that your phone might be tapped or that somebody might look at your emails, but to know that there was somebody in your bed for six years, that somebody was involved in your family life to such a degree, that was an absolute shock.”

Their moving testimony led the committee to declare that undercover operations have had a “terrible impact” on the lives of innocent women.

What the hell is wrong with the Metropolitan Police’s perception of women? Guess it is the same as everyone elses, that women can be mistreated, abused, manipulated, controlled, and disregarded for the “greater good.”

It’s all bullshit if you ask me.

This is an open thread.


14 Comments on “Snowy Evening Open Thread: Women? Who Cares!”

  1. dakinikat says:

    Rand Paul has talked for nearly 9 hours now.

  2. dakinikat says:

    oh for gawd’s sake …

    Fox News contributor: Obama has ‘profound sadness’ because Chavez was ‘his comrade’: Fox News contributor Keit…

  3. bostonboomer says:

    Wow, that Guardian series is horrible. Those poor children who were fathered by fakes! Heartbreaking.

    • Yeah, and it seems like the police dept didn’t have any problems with it…until one of the undercover agents was discovered. Imagine, the ones who did not come forward. What those women must feel like. And like you said, the kids from these undercover assholes. Ooof…

  4. bostonboomer says:

    Droning on . . .Rand Paul Has a Point: The time has come to talk about drones on U.S. soil, by Alec MacGillis

    Scoff all you want, but here’s the thing: The prospect of the government or local law enforcement using armed drones to target people on American soil was discussed as a very real issue at a recent gathering of the drone lobby that I attended in Newport News, Virginia, the subject of a piece in the current issue of the magazine. The two-day gathering, organized by the Hampton Roads chapter of the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (aka the drone lobby), was focused on the vast opportunities and equally big challenges of the civilian market for drones—for crop monitoring, package delivery, police search and rescue efforts, you name it. There was much talk about the ethical quandaries and potential popular resistance associated with these uses. The conference organizers even brought in a theology professor to talk about the ethics of surveillance, complete with quotations from Foucault and Erich Fromm.

    At several points, attendees veered toward the far touchier question of whether drones might ever be used over here the way they’ve been used over there: to kill bad guys, whether individual domestic terrorists or targets in a Branch Davidians–type situation.

  5. bostonboomer says:

    The Nation: How England’s War on Terror Became a War on Women and Children

    I hadn’t planned to write about the war on terror, but driven by curiosity about lives most of us never see and a few lucky coincidences, I stumbled into a world of Muslim women in London, Manchester and Birmingham. Some of them were British, others from Arab and African countries, but their husbands or sons had been swept up in Washington’s war. Some were in Guantánamo, some were among the dozen Muslim foreigners who did not know each other, and who were surprised to find themselves imprisoned together in Britain on suspicion of links to Al Qaeda. Later, some of these families would find themselves under house arrest.

    In the process, I came to know women and children who were living in almost complete isolation and with the stigma of a supposed link to terrorism. They had few friends, and were cut off from the wider world. Those with a husband under house arrest were allowed no visitors who had not been vetted for “security,” nor could they have computers, even for their children to do their homework. Other lonely women had husbands or sons who had sometimes spent a decade or more in prison without charges in the United Kingdom, and were fighting deportation or extradition.

    Gradually, they came to accept me into their isolated lives and talked to me about their children, their mothers, their childhoods—but seldom, at first, about the grim situations of their husbands, which seemed too intimate, too raw, too frightening, too unknowable to be put into words.