Thursday Reads: Ferguson, Missouri is a War Zone

Ferguson2

Good Morning!!

I spent most of the day and night yesterday following the shocking events in Ferguson, Missouri. As I read articles and tweets and studied violent images of police dressed as soldiers and riding in military vehicles, I had repeated flashbacks to the Civil Rights era. Except in those days, police weren’t outfitted with surplus military equipment provided by the Federal government. Back then, the cops had to resort to fire hoses to force people off the streets; but in Ferguson, St. Louis police are equipped with MRAPs (mine-resistant ambush-protected vehicles) and LRADs (long-range acoustic devices).

Ferguson isn’t a large city, and reporters on the ground estimated the size of the “crowd” at somewhere between 150 and 250 people, who were largely protesting peacefully by holding their hands in the air and chanting “Hands up. Don’t shoot.” It’s long past time for Missouri Governor Jay Nixon (a Democrat) to step in and tell the cops to calm down and put away their military toys. If he won’t take action, then President Obama should instruct Attorney General Holder to do it.

The protests follow the killing of 18-year-old Michael Brown by a still-unnamed Ferguson policeman last Saturday afternoon. Brown “had no criminal background,” according to KDSK.com. Police claim that Brown struggled with the officer and tried to grab his gun. But that makes no sense. Why did the officer choose to stop Brown as he peacefully walked down the street with a friend? That friend, Dorian Johnson tells a different version of events.

From USA Today: Witness to Michael Brown shooting comes forward.

Dorian Johnson said he was standing inches from Brown when the shooting occurred around 1:40 p.m. Saturday. He gave his account of the shooting to KSDK-TV.

“The officer is approaching us and as he pulled up on the side of us, he didn’t say freeze, halt or anything like we were committing a crime. He said, ‘Get the F on the sidewalk.’

After Johnson said the officer thrust open the door of his patrol car, hitting the pair, Johnson said the officer grabbed Brown around the neck and tried to pull him through the window. He said Brown never tried to reach for the officer’s weapon.

“The second time he says, ‘I’ll shoot,’ a second later the gun went off and he let go,” Johnson said. “That’s how we were able to run at the same time. The first car I see, I ducked behind for because I fear for my life. I’m scared. I don’t know what’s going on. I don’t understand why this officer is shooting his weapon at us.”

According to Johnson, the officer pursued Brown and fired another shot. which struck Brown in the back. He said Brown turned and faced the officer with his hands raised.

“My friend started to tell the officer that he was unarmed and that he could stop shooting (him),” Johnson said. “Before he could get his second sentence out, the officer fired several more shots into his head and chest area. He fell dramatically into the fatal position. I did not hear once he yell freeze, stop or halt. it was just horrible to watch.”

Unfortunately for the officer who killed Brown, two more witnesses have now come forward. From CNN:

While Michael Brown appeared to tussle with an officer before he was shot dead, he didn’t enter the police cruiser as authorities claim he did, two witnesses told CNN.

The women’s accounts corroborate that of a previous witness, all three of whom said the officer fatally shot the unarmed teen.

Police have said the black 18-year-old died in a dangerous struggle after trying to grab the officer’s weapon. Not so, say the witnesses.

“It looked as if Michael was pushing off and the cop was trying to pull him in,” Tiffany Mitchell told CNN on Wednesday night.

Mitchell had driven to Ferguson to pick up another woman Piaget Crenshaw. The two women witnessed the shooting from two different angles–Mitchell from her car and Crenshaw from a building nearby.

Neither woman, who gave their statements to St. Louis County police, say they saw Brown enter the vehicle.

Instead, a shot went off, then the teen broke free, and the officer got out of the vehicle in pursuit, the women said.

“I saw the police chase him … down the street and shoot him down,” Crenshaw said. Brown ran about 20 feet.

“Michael jerks his body, as if he’s been hit,” Mitchell said.

Then he faced the officer and put his hands in the air, but the officer kept firing, both women said. He sank to the pavement.

The protests in Ferguson, a town in which the population is 2/3 black but the political leadership and police force are overwhelmingly white, are largely driven by the fact that police will not name the shooter or released the results of Brown’s autopsy, despite Missouri’s sunshine law.

August 13, 2014: A device deployed by police goes off in the street as police and protesters clash in Ferguson, Mo. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

August 13, 2014: A device deployed by police goes off in the street as police and protesters clash in Ferguson, Mo. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

From The New York Times: Anonymity in Missouri Police Shooting Fuels Frustration.

FERGUSON, Mo. — In the five days since an unarmed young black man was fatally shot by a police officer here, the selective release of information about the shooting, and especially the anonymity granted to the officer, has stoked frustrations in this largely African-American community north of St. Louis, where residents describe increasingly tense relations with the police.

The police chief, Thomas Jackson, has repeatedly declined to identify the officer, who has been put on administrative leave. But on Wednesday, the chief did offer a new detail about the shooting, which has kindled nights of racial unrest and an unyielding police response with tear gas, rubber bullets and arrests.

Jackson claims there have been threats against the police officer and he needs protection. So why not simply arrest him for murder and send his family to a safer location? Instead, Wilson called in law enforcement support from St. Louis and enabled an incredible overreaction to largely peaceful protests. From the Times article:

On Wednesday night, scores of police officers in riot gear and in armored trucks showed up to disperse protesters who had gathered on the streets near the scene of the shooting. Some officers perched atop the vehicles with their guns trained on the crowds while protesters chanted, “Hands up, don’t shoot.” A police spokesman said that some demonstrators had thrown Molotov cocktails at officers and that some had tried to set fires. The police used tear gas on demonstrators, and some protesters said rubber bullets had been fired at them. Police said one officer appeared to have suffered a broken ankle after being hit by a brick.

The police made more than 10 arrests. Among those arrested was Antonio French, a St. Louis alderman, who had been documenting the protests on social media, his wife said on Twitter.

Two reporters covering the protests also said they had been arrested inside a McDonald’s for trespassing and later released without charges or an explanation. The reporters, Wesley Lowery of The Washington Post and Ryan J. Reilly of The Huffington Post, both said they had been handled roughly by the police.

If you don’t read anything else on the events in Ferguson, read this article and look at the photos.

ferguson_5-600x390

More recommended stories:

Mashable: Ferguson or Iraq? Photos Unmask the Militarization of America’s Police.

As America scaled back its presence in Afghanistan and Iraq in 2012, military gear — amphibious tanks, weapons, uniforms and drones — spilled into local police arsenals. In June, an ACLU report warned of the “excessive militarization” of local law enforcement. “This has the effect of terrifying people, destroying communities and actually undermining public safety,” Kara Dansky, ACLU senior counsel, told Mashable in June.

The photos below show the heavily armed Ferguson police officers, dressed in camouflaged uniforms. They are set side-by-side with images of U.S. military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.

One of the photo comparisons below. Which was taken in Ferguson and which in Iraq?

Militarization of Police 02

 

NBC News: Michael Brown Killing: Missouri Governor to Visit as Unrest Grows in Ferguson.

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon said he would visit the St. Louis suburbs Thursday after police fired tear gas to break up crowds in a fourth night of civil unrest over the police killing of an unarmed black teenager.

Sixteen people were arrested, including two reporters, on Wednesday night in the suburb of Ferguson, and police said that two officers were injured, one hit by a brick, NBC affiliate KSDK reported….

Nixon said in a statement that the worsening situation in Ferguson was “deeply troubling.” He canceled a planned visit to the state fair. “While we all respect the solemn responsibility of our law enforcement officers to protect the public, we must also safeguard the rights of Missourians to peaceably assemble and the rights of the press to report on matters of public concern,” he said.

Too little, too late, IMHO.

The Baltimore Sun: Riots in Ferguson and what they mean, by Leonard Pitts.

To believe that this carnage — the windows smashed, the buildings torched, the tear gas wafting — is all about the killing of Michael Brown is to miss the point….

Because, again, this is not just about Brown. It’s about Eric Garner, choked to death in a confrontation with New York City Police. It’s about Jordan Davis, shot to death in Jacksonville, Florida, because he played his music too loud. It’s about Trayvon Martin, shot to death in Sanford, Florida, because a self-appointed neighborhood guardian judged him a thug. It’s about Oscar Grant, shot by a police officer in an Oakland, California, subway station as cellphone cameras watched. It’s about Amadou Diallo, executed in that vestibule and Abner Louima, sodomized with that broomstick. It’s about Rodney King.

And it is about the bitter sense of siege that lives in African-American men, a sense that it is perpetually open season on us.

And that too few people outside of African America really notice, much less care. People who look like you are every day deprived of health, wealth, freedom, opportunity, education, the benefit of the doubt, the presumption of innocence, life itself — and when you try to say this, even when you document it with academic studies and buttress it with witness testimony, people don’t want to hear it, people dismiss you, deny you, lecture you about white victimhood, chastise you for playing a so-called “race card.”

They choke off avenues of protest, prizing silence over justice, mistaking silence for peace. And never mind that sometimes, silence simmers like water in a closed pot on a high flame….the anger we see in Ferguson did not spring from nowhere, nor arrive, fully-formed, when Michael Brown was shot. It is the anger of people who are, as Fannie Lou Hamer famously said, sick and tired of being sick and tired.

Silence imposed on pain cannot indefinitely endure. People who are hurting will always, eventually, make themselves heard.

The only problem with Pitts’ column is that there haven’t been any actual “riots” in Ferguson yet–unless you count what the police are doing as rioting.

Riverfront Times: Watch Police in Ferguson Arrest, Tear Gas Journalists [VIDEO]

Police actions against press seem to be part of the reason Governor Jay Nixon finally decided to cut his Missouri State Fair trip short. The governor says he’ll arrive in St. Louis County Thursday morning to manage what’s increasingly becoming a volatile, violent and devastating time in St. Louis history.

SWAT officers arrested Wesley Lowery, a political reporter at TheWashington Post, and Ryan Reilly, a Huffington Post justice reporter, shortly before 7 p.m. while clearing out a McDonalds near the protests where they were working. The reporters say police asked for their identification and eventually arrested them when they weren’t leaving quickly enough.

The journalists say they were arrested without being read their Miranda writes and eventually released with nothing — no charges, no police report, no names of arresting officers. The Los Angeles Times says police only released them after their reporter alerted the chief of Ferguson Police (His response: “Oh, god,”), who then called St. Louis County Police.

Late last night, police in Ferguson also tried to order the media to shut off their cameras, and they attacked journalists from Al Jazeera and confiscated their equipment. 

Missouri Senator Claire McCaskill decided last night that it was time for her to take some action, since Governor Nixon wasn’t doing it. She will meet with Eric Holder today to discuss the Ferguson situation.

Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) says she has a phone call planned with Attorney General Eric Holder on Thursday to discuss the situation in Ferguson, Mo., where an apparently unarmed black teenager was fatally shot by a police officer last weekend.

Amid clashes in the St. Louis suburb Wednesday night, the senator tweeted that she’s been working the phones to try to deescalate the “tense and unacceptable situation.” ….

Holder and White House senior adviser Valerie Jarrett briefed President Obama Wednesday and the president will receive another briefing Thursday.

I’ll have to end there, because this post is getting way too long. I’ll post more important links in the comments. I’ll leave it to you Sky Dancers to update me on the rest of the news. I’ve been too focuses on Ferguson to pay attention to anything else. See you in the comment thread.


Friday Reads

woman reading blue woodblockGood Morning!!

Well, we have two more years of the tears of a clown to look forward to as Boehner held on to his position as Speaker of the House.  The vote was not without its comic moments.

The tension around Mr. Boehner, who was elected unanimously by House Republicans two years ago, showed in the long, pomp-filled roll call vote, in which each member was called on to publicly announce a choice. A dozen Republicans either voted for someone other than Mr. Boehner, voted “present” or remained silent even though they were in the chamber. It was not until the very last votes that Mr. Boehner cleared the majority he needed.

President Obama called Mr. Boehner to congratulate him.

Some mavericks were members who have been thorns in the speaker’s side for two years, like three representatives who were thrown off committees late last year: Tim Huelskamp of Kansas, who voted for Representative Jim Jordan of Ohio; Justin Amash of Michigan, who voted for a fellow sophomore conservative, Raúl R. Labrador of Idaho; and Walter B. Jones of North Carolina, who voted for David Walker, the former United States comptroller.

“I think it was a vote of no confidence,” Mr. Huelskamp said. “In this town the intimidation was intense. There were a lot of members who wanted to vote no.”

House Republican leadership aides denied any such tactics and said rumors of strong-arming were unfounded.

A few who opposed Mr. Boehner were newcomers, signaling a new generation of dissent. Representative Jim Bridenstine of Oklahoma voted for Mr. Cantor, and Representative Thomas Massie of Kentucky, who prevailed in the Republican primary last year with the help of young Ron Paul acolytes, voted for Mr. Amash. Representative Ted Yoho, Republican of Florida, started his career in the House by voting for Mr. Cantor, to “send a statement,” he said.

There’s a lot of interest around the Al Jazeera buy out of Al Gore’s Current TV channel.   It’s completely unhinged the right wing.  (Not that they’re not usually unhinged about things on a daily basis any way.)  Frankly, I hope it starts to break down the corporate news oligopoly in the country.

Now, in the most American of solutions, the pan-Arab news leader has gone ahead and simply bought its seat at the media table. As Brian Stelter  reported in the  New York Times, “Al Jazeera… announced a deal to take over Current TV, the low-rated cable channel that was founded by Al Gore, a former vice president, and his business partners seven years ago.” For the relatively small sum of $500 million dollars (at least as measured by its oil-rich owner in Qatar) Al Jaz has just purchased entree into more than  40 million cable-ready living rooms across the U.S.

Political concerns aside, some media observers have questioned whether Al Jazeera has, as Stelter  phrased it, “The journalistic muscle and the money to compete head-to-head with CNN and other news channels in the United States.” What a joke! The last time I checked, Sheikj Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, the ruler of Qatar, had more money than Allah. And really, how much “journalistic muscle” does one need to compete with CNN these days — not to mention the braying heads of such opinionated and politicized putative “news channels” as Fox or MSNBC? Judging from their most recent efforts — such as completely misreporting the Supreme Court decision on Obamacare, for example — what little journalism is being practiced at outlets such as CNN and Fox these days is, shall we say, far from muscular!

Woman-ReadingAmong the more interesting outcomes is that Time Warner Cable has dropped the channel.

Joel Hyatt, who co-founded Current TV with former Vice President Al Gore, told staff in a Wednesday night memo that Time Warner Cable “did not consent to the sale to Al Jazeera.”

“Consequently, Current will no longer be carried on TWC,” Hyatt wrote. “This is unfortunate, but I am confident that Al Jazeera America will earn significant additional carriage in the months and years ahead.”

A Time Warner Cable spokesman said in a statement that “our agreement with Current will be terminated and we will no longer be carrying the channel.”

Some media observers interpreted the move as motivated by politics.

“Time-Warner cable shows abject political and journalistic cowardice by dropping Current because of Al Jazeera deal,” tweeted Dan Gilmor, a technology writer and founding director of the Knight Center for Digital Media Entrepreneurship at Arizona State University.

The Time Warner Cable spokesman would not comment on politics when reached by The Huffington Post, but said via email that “we do have an agreement with [Al Jazeera English], though we have no plans to launch it at this time.”

Al Jazeera America will be separate from Al Jazeera English, although roughly 40 percent of the new network’s programming is expected to come from the English-language channel, which is based in Doha, Qatar.

New York Times reporter Brian Stelter reported that Time Warner Cable had warned it might drop Current due to low ratings. On Twitter, Stelter noted that Al Jazeera will acquire Current’s carriage deals with other cable providers, including DirecTV, Comcast, Dish, Verizon and AT&T.

It’s rumored that Treasury Secretary Geithner will leave his position prior to the next fiscal debacle.  He will not be part of the debt ceiling negotiations.

Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner finds himself in a familiar position: eager to resume life outside government and facing contentious negotiations with Congress over raising the federal debt ceiling.

The last time he was in this predicament, in June 2011, President Barack Obama persuaded him to stay. This time, Geithner has indicated to White House officials he wants to carry through with his plan to leave the administration by the end of this month, even if a deal on the debt limit isn’t in place, according to two people familiar with the matter

Geithner’s departure would increase pressure on the president to name his successor at Treasury. White House Chief of Staff Jack Lew remains the leading contender for the Treasury job, according to the people, who requested anonymity to discuss the private talks.

Geithner, 51, is the only remaining member of Obama’s original economic team and was a key figure in the taxpayer- funded bailouts during the 2008 financial crisis. He’s also had a principal role in negotiations with Congress on the budget deal and in past deliberations over the debt ceiling.

Because Lew’s experience in financial markets is thin, Obama may seek to name a Wall Street executive as deputy Treasury secretary, the people said.

I admit to being a Trekker.  I loved all the series and I actually follow William Shatner on Twitter and George Takei on Facebook.  Yesterday, Shatner sent a tweet to one of the commanders on the International Space Station and got a perfectTrekker reply back.

 

3 Jan 13

@Cmdr_Hadfield Are you tweeting from space? MBB

@WilliamShatner Yes, Standard Orbit, Captain. And we’re detecting signs of life on the surface.

So this just happened:

William Shatner, he of Priceline and also of spoken-word poetry but mostly of Star Trek, is also William Shatner of Twitter. And this afternoon, the actor took to the service to ask a question of the Canadian Space Agency’s Chris Hadfield, who is currently serving as the International Space Station’s Flight Engineer for Expedition 34 — and who has indeed been tweeting from space

Here’s a great list of idiots that we no longer have to see in Congress.  Bless their little hearts!  Say good bye to Mean Jean and crazy ol’ Uncle Ron Paul.  Also, bye bye Todd Akin and Joe Walsh.  We wish we never knew ye!

Newly former Rep. Jean Schmidt (R-OH) is another birther departing the House today. On Schmidt’s highlight reel? She once called a Congressman and decorated marine a “coward,” insisted that China is drilling off the coast of Florida, and wept with joy over the (incorrect) news that Obamacare had been repealed.

There’s a list of ten over there and I’m happy to see every one of them go off to oblivion.

How about some trickle-down feminism?wood cut woman reading

If you read what is popularly known as the feminist press, you’ll notice a focus on the “glass ceiling” that excludes much else. Feminist writers are found celebrating the achievements of Facebook CEO Sheryl Sandburg, cheering Christine Lagarde’s position at the International Monetary Fund, wringing their hands over Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer’s refusal to call herself a feminist, or asking, as Anne-Marie Slaughter did in the pages of the Atlantic, whether (white, well-off, educated) women can “have it all.”

While we debate the travails of some of the world’s most privileged women, most women are up against the wall. According to the Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law, women make up just under half of the national workforce, but about 60 percent of the minimum-wage workforce and 73 percent of tipped workers. In the New York area, a full 95 percent of domestic workers are female. Female-dominated sectors such as retail sales, food service, and home health care are some of the fastest-growing fields in the new economy, and even in those fields, women earn less; women in the restaurant industry earn 83 cents to a man’s dollar.

This is where most women spend their time, not atop the Googleplex. This is where feminists should be spending their time, too.

The stakes are clear. Domestic workers, home care workers, nurses, and other largely female contingents must organize their workplaces or the work that most women do will continue to be undervalued, virtually unregulated, and precarious. The deunionization that has left about 88 percent of American workers without unions will drag the rest of us down as well.

Those are my offerings today.  What’s on your reading and blogging list?


Dorothy Parvaz missing in Syria

We heard the horrors of Lara Logan’s assault while  reporting the Egyptian uprising in Cairo on 60 minutes last Sunday.  Reporter Dorothy Parvaz is missing in Syria.  Dorothy is a reporter for Al Jazeera who was covering the unrest there.

Daraa, a drought-plagued city, has been under siege for a week since the regime sent in troops backed by tanks and snipers to crush protests. Electricity, power and fuel have been cut and the military has largely sealed off the area.

“I have never been so scared in all my life,” said one Daraa resident who fled late Sunday to an area some 10 miles (16 kilometers) away.

“Security men have divided Daraa into four parts … there was indiscriminate shelling yesterday, people are terrified,” he told The Associated Press Monday. “It’s like a military barracks there.”

Also Monday, Arab satellite TV station Al-Jazeera said one of its journalists, DorothyParvaz, 39, has not been heard from since arriving Friday in Damascus. Parvaz, who had U.S., Iranian and Canadian citizenship, was a former reporter and columnist for the Seattle Post-Intelligencer.

“We are deeply concerned for Dorothy’s safety, security, and well-being. We are requesting full cooperation from the Syrian authorities to determine what happened at the airport, what her current location is, and the status of her health,” Al-Jazeera said in a statement.

The Oregonian reports that Parvaz’s husband, a West Linn High School and Lewis and Clark College graduate hasn’t heard from since Friday.

In Damascus, a witness said security forces dispersed a group of about 100 women in the capital who were carrying banners of support for the women and children of Daraa.

Ten minutes into the protest, police broke it up by force, beating a few of the women, said the witness, who spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of reprisals.

The witness accounts could not be independently confirmed. Syria keeps tight restrictions on the media and has expelled foreign journalists and restricted access to trouble spots.

Al Jazeera is demanding the release of Dorothy.

Al Jazeera has demanded immediate information from Syria about one of its journalists who has been missing in the country since Friday afternoon.

Dorothy Parvaz left Doha, Qatar, for Syria on Friday to help cover events currently taking place in the country. However, there has been no contact with the 39-year-old since she disembarked from a Qatar Airways flight in Damascus.

Parvaz is an American, Canadian and Iranian citizen. She joined Al Jazeera in 2010 and recently reported on the Japanese earthquake and tsunami for the network.

She graduated from the University of British Columbia, obtained a masters from Arizona University, and held journalism fellowships at both Harvard and Cambridge. She previously worked as a columnist and feature writer for the Seattle Post-Intelligencer in the US.

An Al Jazeera spokesman said: “We are concerned for Dorothy’s safety and wellbeing. We are requesting full cooperation from the Syrian authorities to determine how she was processed at the airport and what her current location is. We want her returned to us immediately.”

When asked about Parvaz’s case, Ali Akbar Salehi, the Iranian foreign minister, said: “We demand the government of Syria look into this case.”

Dorothy was born in Iran of a Iranian father and an American mother.  She lived in Canada during her youth. We hope she has the support of  these countries and their consulates.  Syria is run by a brutal regime that is known for the usual horrible conditions in prison.   It is important that her story gets out.


Saturday: Walk Like a Bahraini Youth Activist

Click Image to go to the NYT Lens.

Good morning, news junkies!

I’ve gotten quite hooked on the NYT’s new Lens blog, particularly the regular interview/photo essays compiled by Lens editor James Estrin. A couple months ago, Estrin zoomed the focus in on Eirini Vourloumis and her photographs of Spanish-speaking converts to Islam–you may remember my linking to the interview at the time. This week’s spotlight is on Hazel Thompson and her work documenting the roles of women in Bahrain. There’s also a video of Thompson discussing her experiences at the link. Fascinating stuff.

To the right… from Hazel Thompson’s “Measure of a Woman”… The Youth Activist: Enas Ahmed Al-Farden is the vice president of the Bahrain Youth Forum Society. She is also a radio announcer and a product marketing manager. She lives with her parents and is engaged to be married.

If you have some free time after you’re finished reading this roundup, both the spot on Bahraini women and the earlier one on Latino Muslims are well worth the investment. (I’ll link to them again at the end.) In the meantime, here are the rest of my Saturday picks… grab a cup of whatever gets you up and running in the morning and enjoy.

Economy

  1. As of November, men’s unemployment is down .04 percent over the previous 12 months, and women’s unemployment over the same period is up .04 percent. Between July 2009 and January 2011, women lost 366,000 jobs while men gained 438,000.
  2. The public sector has shed 426,000 jobs since August of 2008. 154,000 of those jobs were in education. Women comprise only a little over half of the public workforce but have lost 83.8% of the jobs during the recovery-in-name-only.
  3. And, just look at who is exempt from Walker’s proposal to strip collective bargaining: public officers, firefighters, and state troopers. It’s the public employee unions made up mostly of women that are facing threat of annihilation.

  • Wonk’s two cents: The Taxed Enough Already (TEA) crowd never shuts up about the “debt we’re creating for our children,” but they sure don’t seem to be looking in the right place if that’s what they’re really concerned about.

although borrowers who develop severe and lasting disabilities are legally entitled to get federal student loans forgiven, the process for deciding who is eligible is dysfunctional, opaque and duplicates similar reviews conducted by other federal agencies. Many borrowers have been denied for unclear reasons, and many others have simply given up.

  • On Thursday, Zaid Jilani from Think Progress posted the graph I’ve been looking for. This is what the workers in Wisconsin, Ohio, and Indiana are protesting:

CLICK GRAPH TO GO TO THINK PROGRESS.

Women’s Rights

  • The Center for Reproductive Rights’ Melissa Upreti, via RH Reality Check, reports that Nepal Advances As U.S. Backslides on Women’s Rights.” What takes the cake is that Nepal’s Supreme Court cites Roe in its groundbreaking affirmation of a woman’s autonomy, access to abortion, and well-being over that of a fetus. I almost want to laugh and tell Nepal’s Supremes that their ruling sounds better than Roe. Our dear Roe has, among other things, successfully kept women’s rights in perpetual limbo for almost 4 decades. As much as I believe in the privacy argument, I’m a much bigger believer in the autonomy and equity arguments.

  • Here’s a good companion essay to read after Clark’s piece. Margot Badran, via the SSRC’s Immanent Frame, writes of Egypt’s Revolution and the New Feminism.” From Badran’s pen to the goddess’s ear:

Will the youth now be willing to accept patriarchal authoritarianism sustained by the old family law, a law so out of sync with contemporary social realities—with their own realities? It is very hard to see by what logic they could do so. Freedom, equality, and justice cannot be reserved for some only. For the youth, female and male, who raised this revolution, freedom, equality, and justice are surely non-negotiable, and dignity, the order of the day. This is the essence of the new feminism, call it what you will.

  • I missed this one last week. William John Cox’s “Political Upheaval and Women’s Rights,” via Truthout. Excellent long view essay. Cox really lays it all out there. Fundamentalism is a threat to women everywhere, be it in the Mideast or in the US.

[There’s more, so if you need a coffee refill or anything, now would be a good time for an intermission before you click to continue. ]

Read the rest of this entry »


Wednesday Reads

Minx here with your Wednesday morning reads. Can you believe it is March already? I guess time flies when you are having fun…uh, you know I say that with a huge dose of snark. I know that my family is not the only one out there with only 3 bucks in their bank account to get them to the next payday…which is at the end of the week. Individuals and families seem to have to “shut down” when it gets like this. Y’all know what I mean, you can’t buy any food or gas and just hope that no one gets sick or hurt during the next few days til payday. Well, that is enough of that, let’s get on with it shall we?

Looks like the possibility of a government shutdown has been put off for at least 2 weeks. NationalJournal.com – Shutdown Fears Fade as CR Deal Advances – Tuesday, March 1, 2011

The slim possibility of a government shutdown grew even more remote today when Republicans sent a two-week spending package to the Senate, where Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., anticipated passage after a vote scheduled for Wednesday morning.

Okay, so now that we got that bit out-of-the-way, lets dig into something more interesting. (At least for me anyway….)

Click on the map to see Region in Turmoil on Al Jazeera English

Yesterday, I was discussing a possible post with some of the gang here on Sky Dancing. It was going to be an overview of the Mid East and Northern African region with information on the countries and links to any updates on the situation there. What do you know, they have done an excellent job of this over a AJE. Damn, I really am fond of this news agency.

Region in turmoil – Spotlight – Al Jazeera English

The world’s attention has been focused on a handful of countries – Tunisia, Egypt, Bahrain and Libya – since the first popular protests broke out in Tunisia in December. But nearly a dozen countries in the region have seen political unrest, and the protest movement shows no signs of stopping.

Below is a summary of the demonstrations so far, and links to our coverage. You can also click a country on the map above for more information.

I highly suggest you bookmark this AJE page. There are links to articles for each country discussed.

There is some fast-moving news over in Libya, so for the latest be sure to check the Al Jazeera English Website.

Armed conflicts in poor countries keep 28 million children out of school, a new UNESCO report reveals.

Also from AJE, UN: Conflict robs kids of education – Africa – Al Jazeera English

Armed conflict is robbing 28 million children of an education, by keeping them out of school where they are often targets of sexual abuse and violence, according to a report released by UNESCO.

Released on Tuesday, the Education for All Global Monitoring Report warned that of the world’s primary school aged children not attending schools, 42 per cent of these live in poor countries that are wracked by conflict.

“Armed conflict remains a major roadblock to human development in many parts of the world, yet its impact on education is widely neglected,” Irina Bokova, UNESCO Director General, said in a statement released at the report’s launch in Dakar.

This often leads to a vicious cycle where poverty and lack of development are reinforced by a lack of education, and the risk of further conflict is heightened as millions of youths fail to find employment.

Thirty-five countries were affected by armed conflict from 1999 to 2008, of which 15 are in sub-Saharan Africa.

[…]

Children are also being used as soldiers in 24 countries including the Congo, Chad, the Central African Republic, Myanmar and Sudan, the report said.

UNESCO cited evidence in reports from UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon that rape and sexual violence are widely used as a weapon of war in many countries.

“Many victims are young girls,” the report said, citing Congo, where one-third of rapes involve children and 13 per cent are carried out against children under the age of 10.

According to the report, insecurity and fear associated with sexual violence keeps young girls in particular out of school.

I realize that many in these war-torn countries are just trying to survive, and education is not on the top of the list when it comes to dealing with the horrors of war and conflict. However, I wanted to highlight this issue here because it is yet another  reason to support  humanitarian aid to these countries. Children have rights as well, they have the right to attend a safe school and receive an education, but I think this tends to get lost in the shuffle in these areas of high conflict.

For another article on Libya, and other oil producing countries in the Mid East, Juan Cole has a new post up: Libya Standoff as Saudi Quivers and Iran, Iraq under Pressure | Informed Comment

It increasingly appears that outside intervention via the UN or NATO is off the table, and so the end game will likely play out inside Libya and based on Libyan dynamics.

Brent crude oscillated between $112 and $114 a barrel on Tuesday, and West Texas crude hit $100 on Middle East uncertainty, but analysts say that the price would have to stay high for weeks or months to have a serious impact on Western countries’ economic recovery. Prices may in fact stay high for a while, since Saudi Arabia is said to be willing to have Brent crude go as high as $120 before intervening with another increase in its own production.

Cole also points out that the Saudi’s have arrested a Shiite Clergyman that was speaking out for a constitutional monarchy:

Saudi authorities on Tuesday detained a Shiite clergyman in the Eastern Province who preached a sermon calling for a constitutional monarchy. Shiites are probably about 12 percent of Saudis and are culturally and politically repressed by the Wahhabi establishment, which typically views them as idolaters. Had the call for constitutional monarchy come from other quarters, it would be more significant, since it is hard to imagine Wahhabi-Shiite political unity. Unrest among Saudi Shiites might affect the oil-rich Eastern Province where they mostly reside, but the Saudi state has significant repressive capacities in that area.

It is a very interesting read, so check it out.

Oh, and did you see this: Obama Administration Approves First Gulf Deepwater Well – And BP Is the Majority Owner | FDL News Desk As Dayen points out, BP is the major stakeholder in the Noble Energy company that just got the permit.

So to recap, BP owns twice as much a stake in this well as Noble Energy, and yet the announcement of the permit says that Noble Energy received it. Noble operates the well, but BP is the biggest stakeholder, and as such could be the biggest voice in making key decisions about cost and safety. Reuters managed to mention this, unlike the AP.

I won’t say anything about this now, I will leave it for the comment section. (Search engines don’t like it when you curse on a blog post…)

On Sunday the Academy Award for Best Documentary– Feature Film was given to Inside Job and during the acceptance speech, the director mentioned that not one of the people responsible for the fraud that led us to the economic meltdown have been held accountable for their crimes.

For more information on this, take a look at this article: What Juror Wouldn’t Convict A Bankster On Known Facts? | Firedoglake

Okay, I am putting up this next link cause I just love it when Faux News gets caught in its own web of lies.

Fox News reporter appears to have lied about being ‘punched’ by protester | The Raw Story

Fox News has been making a lot of hay about one of their reporters allegedly being “punched” by a protester in Madison, Wisconsin.

Turns out, that didn’t happen.

Mike Tobin, reporting from amid the massive demonstration on Friday, claimed that one of the protesters “punched” him in the arm. In another broadcast, he claimed a man threatened to break his neck.

In both cases, supporting evidence for these claims was not broadcast — yet still, Tobin’s reports have been widely cited across conservative blogs that seem eager to depict union workers as hateful and violent.

What’s worse, Tobin’s allegation that he was assaulted might have slipped past without rebuttal were it not for a camera-equipped bystander, who captured the scene.

Turns out, someone merely touched his shoulder, as evidenced in the video below. The incident he claimed was a “punch” could instead be described as a pat, at most.

Excuse me while I laugh out loud! Ha…Ha…

Okay, on to one last link before I turn you over to the comment section. Funny this link is about comments people leave on news or blog post.  Mostly this post deals with the horrible comments during the reporting of the Lara Logan assault. We touched on this here on Sky Dancing. It also discusses the culture of online comments, and how different websites deal with the hate that many people will post, because they see their comments as being hidden behind an anonymous or made up name.

Anonymous Comments | Online Comments | James Rainey LA Times | Mediaite

Rainey goes through several ways different outlets have dealt with the in-fighting, trolling, and barrage of racist / sexist / homophobic / ableist / you-name-it-ist comments frequently dotting their comments sections. The LATimes.com, for instance, “kicks off” comments that have been reported as abuse by two different visitors, and The Huffington Post employs a team of 30 people who monitor threads for abusive posts with the help of a special computer system – a system which is both necessary, given the millions of visitors HuffPost receives, and enviable to certain bloggers (working at, let’s say… oh, Mediaite) who have to manually comb through comments to clean away the muck. It’s no secret that dealing with abusive commenters is a job in itself, and not something a lot of online writers have the time or patience to deal with in addition to churning out content.

So what are you reading today? We don’t have a team of 30 people here on Sky Dancing, but we love reading your comments.  So get to it and let us know how you feel.


Thursday Reads

Good Morning!!

Some of us have been watching Al Jazeera live on-line a lot lately. Suddenly Comcast wants to get into the act, so they are holding talks with the Arab network about putting them on U.S. cable TV.

Al Jazeera confirmed in a press release earlier this week it was meeting with Comcast on Tuesday about adding the 24/7 Al Jazeera English news network to Comcast’s cable lineup.

In 2006, the English-language version of Al Jazeera pushed hard get on Comcast’s lineup up but lost that battle.

Al Jazeera says it can also be seen in local markets in Vermont, Ohio and Washington, D.C. A deal with Comcast would give it a huge national imprint, and force Comcast’s competitors to follow suit.

Al-Jazeera’s Washington bureau chief Abderrahim Foukara made his own plea on Tuesday in Time magazine.

“The hope is that after what people have been able to see on Al Jazeera in its coverage of Egypt, that cable companies may not just see the material benefits of having Al Jazeera available, but also the wisdom,” he told Time in an interview.

Wouldn’t it be great if the channel *replaced* Fox News? Anyway, that’s my good news story for today.

Yesterday, Dakinikat posted audio of a prank phone call made to Wisconsin’s wacky governor, Scott Walker by a gonzo blogger from upstate NY who pretended to be David Koch of the notorious Koch brothers.

Now Horrible John Hinderaker at Powerline is fighting back (warning: right wing blog). The left is waging “war” against the Koch Brothers and Hineraker has set himself up as their defender.

The most extraordinary story in the news these days is the all-out assault that the Left is mounting against Charles and David Koch and their company, Koch Enterprises. A day doesn’t go buy–hardly an hour goes by–without some new attack being launched against these two lonely libertarians.

Why? Simply because they are rich–their company is one of the best-run and most successful in the world–and conservative. The Left is trying to drive them out of politics and, more important, to deter any other people of means from daring to support conservative politicians or causes.

Awwwww….those poor, poor babies.

According to the Washington Post, Walker himself is “urging others to take stands against unions.” I guess he doesn’t want to be out on that limb by himself, and he doesn’t realize that the more governors are out there with him, the sooner the limb will break off and send them all crashing to the ground. Oh, by the way, he did the urging during the aforsaid prank phone call in which he believed he was speaking to David Koch. ROFLOL! From the WaPo:

He said he communicates regularly with Ohio Gov. John Kasich and has spoken with Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval. And Walker has suggested that his counterparts in Michigan and Florida seek to address their budget problems in part by demanding major concessions from public workers.

“There’s a lot of us new governors that got elected to do something big,” Walker said this week. “This is our moment.”

His comments about his GOP brethren came in an unusual forum: a recorded telephone conversation with a liberal blogger purporting to be conservative financier David Koch.

Oh man, Scott Walker will forever be a joke. And speaking of jokes, did you hear that Rick Santorum spoke out on the Wisconsin protests?

All-but-declared presidential candidate Rick Santorum is stirring the pot when it comes to government entitlements, comparing the pro-union protesters in Wisconsin to drug addicts in withdrawal.

“They are acting like their drug is being taken away from them,” Santorum told a small gathering of South Carolina Republicans Monday night, according to the Spartanburg Herald-Journal.

The comments came the same day thousands of protesters rallied outside the Wisconsin state capitol for the second week, upset with Gov. Scott Walker’s plan to limit collective bargaining rights for public-sector employees. Walker says the plan is necessary to stem the state’s budget crisis while pro-union groups say the governor is trying to curb long-held labor rights under a guise of fiscal responsibility.

Meanwhile, Santorum, the former Pennsylvania senator who is widely expected to seek his party’s presidential nomination, added he thinks those who support government entitlements – including the recent health care law – are “no better than a drug dealer.”

“They give you a subtle narcotic to make you feel better as you do worse,” said Santorum.

Gee, why do I think Santorum’s White House bid is going nowhere fast?

Speaking of wingnuts (and we have been), Georgia legislator Bobby Franklin is waging an all-out war on women.

There’s a new bill on the block that may have reached the apex (I hope) of woman-hating craziness. Georgia State Rep. Bobby Franklin—who last year proposed making rape and domestic violence “victims” into “accusers”—has introduced a 10-page bill that would criminalize miscarriages and make abortion in Georgia completely illegal. Both miscarriages and abortions would be potentially punishable by death: any “prenatal murder” in the words of the bill, including “human involvement” in a miscarriage, would be a felony and carry a penalty of life in prison or death. Basically, it’s everything an “pro-life” activist could want aside from making all women who’ve had abortions wear big red “A”s on their chests.

Could that really pass–even in Georgia?

In more serious news, the carnage in Libya continues.

“It’s a massacre, you can never imagine what’s going on here,” says the man, who is in the Libyan capital of Tripoli.

Protests in Libya have been met with violent and brutal opposition by supporters of leader Moamar Gaddafi….

‘Amairr’ says that Libya is not a state and that Gadafi’s regime is ‘not a government’.

“It’s a militia, it’s a gang,” he says.

He says Gaddafi has brought in militias from Africa who are ‘shooting anyone who stands’.

He says the Libyan nation says it feels betrayed by other countries who are concentrating on getting their citizens out rather than helping Libyans.

Some are even calling it a potential genocide.

ISLAMABAD: “We are in the midst of a massacre here” a witness told Reuters. According to Franco Frattini, Italy’s Foreign Minister, “as many as 1,000 people have likely been killed in Libya as leader Muammar Qaddafi cracks down on protests against his rule.”

The Libyan army, air force and navy have completely fractured and there has been a de facto secession of the eastern half of the country. Al-Jazeera is reporting that some air force fighters loyal to Gaddafi have “opened fire on crowds of protestors.”

The Libyan Navy is reportedly firing on residential targets onshore and senior army officers still loyal to Qaddafi have been ordered to execute soldiers refusing to fire on unarmed protestors.

Qaddafi, the longest serving dictator on the face of the planet, continues to hold fort in Tripoli scheming to kill a million if need be to save his crumbling dictatorship. Anti-Qaddafi elements have already taken over Benghazi, Sirte, Tobruk, Misurata, Khoms, Tarhunah, Zentan, al-Zawiya and Zouara but most of these elements are unarmed and thus at risk of being slaughtered by heavily armed pro-Qaddafi forces.

The response from the West has been anemic at best. UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon “condemned” Libyan dictator

Muammar Gaddafi for ignoring his call to stop violence against protestors, which the UN chief stressed to the Libyan leader during a 40 minute conversation this week. “What he (Gaddafi) has d one is totally unacceptable,” Ban told journalists on Wednesday.

“After such long and extensive discussions and my strong urging, and even appeal to him, he has not heeded,” he added. “This is not acceptable.”

Ban warned that the volatile situation in the North African nation could take several directions—many of them dangerous.

“The situation is developing rapidly towards a very dangerous situation,” he said. “Therefore we need to very carefully monitor the situation.”

Um…how about actually doing something? Like maybe enforcing a no-fly zone or sending in UN peacekeeping troops as the Libyan’s have been pleading for you to do?

Reuters informs us that “the world grapples for a response.”

Yet, there seemed little cohesion and urgency in a global response, even as Washington and Brussels spoke of possible sanctions against a man whose 41 years in power have been marked by idiosyncratic defiance of the West.

“It is imperative that the nations and peoples of the world speak with one voice,” Obama said. “The suffering and bloodshed is outrageous.”

The oil exports which Gaddafi used to help end his isolation in the past decade have given him means to resist the fate of his immediate neighbors, the presidents of Tunisia and Egypt, who were brought down by popular unrest in the past few weeks.

It’s always about oil, isn’t it? Talk about people acting like drug addicts….

Anyway, I’ll keep my eye out for updates on the rapidly changing situation in Libya.


What are you reading and blogging about today?


Saturday: Permission to Narrate

Click image to go to Al Jazeera Live Blog on Egypt

Photo: via the NYT Lens. Egyptian antigovernment protesters celebrated under fireworks at Tahrir Square in Cairo. (Marco Longari/AFP/Getty)

Good morning all!

It’s the morning after Egypt took its first step toward self-governance, and I can’t stop thinking “power to the people!”

[See Al Jazeera Feb 12 Egypt Live Blog for the latest]

Just wow! Whatever happens in the long and challenging road ahead, the Arab youth and the rest of the Egyptian protesters have changed the narrative forever. Gone with Mubarak is the mythology that Arab peoples don’t want democracy and have to have it imposed on them, as if they were somehow intrinsically “different” from Lady Liberty’s tired, huddled masses yearning to breathe free. Over the course of the past 18 days, the whole world saw what Egyptians wanted (freedom, dignity) and what the West wanted (first “stability,” then “orderly transition” to Suleiman-the-torturer).

Check out the headline on this new interactive map from the BBC: “Egypt: The camp that toppled a president.” (While you’re at it, check out the map, because it will answer the question that inquiring minds have been wondering, about just how did the protesters answer nature’s call!)

My rough timeline/liveblogging from yesterday:

The brutal police murder of corruption whistleblower Khaled Said was the turning point. Tunisia’s overthrow of Ben Ali was the awakening. Millions of people took to the streets and risked their lives. Thousands were wounded or “disappeared.” 300 are dead. Wael Ghonim’s interview after his release gave the protesters new life and the strength to carry on in the face of all the people who second-guessed them. The way I see it, though, the real “catalysts” were those 30 years of a regime that not only oppressed its people but served other countries’ interests, in the name of “stability” and stuffing their own pockets, while neglecting the needs of Egyptians.

I’ve had a helluva time trying to narrow down some Saturday reads to share with you, let alone getting myself away from the Al Jazeera live feed long enough to write this post. I’ve settled on a few favorites.

First, the Egyptian woman who has been holding down the fort in the Western media almost single-handedly–yes, that would be Mona Eltahawy–yesterday on the Brian Lehrer Show, reacting live to the news that Mubarak had resigned:

“I want to be realistic as well as kind of really love this moment. This is just a first step. We’ve said all along we want the regime to go. This is not about Mubarak. This is about getting rid of a regime that has suffocated the life of Egypt for the past sixty years. Egyptians deserve so much better. This is a wonderful moment in our life. And, it’s not going to stop. Everybody I know in Egypt is saying ‘We did it, but we’re not going to stop.’ And, I have total faith in them. I love Egypt, and I love being Egyptian today.” –Mona Eltahawy, breaking down emotionally, after weeks of nonstop tireless work pushing the Western media to look beyond its narratives on the Arab world.

Mona’s reaction reminded me of what MLK once said: “This is where we are. Where do we go from here?”

Dr. King’s next words: “First, we must massively assert our dignity and worth. We must stand up amidst a system that still oppresses us and develop an unassailable and majestic sense of values.”

On Tuesday, I posted about Women’s Voices on Egypt, as inspired by Mona Eltahawy’s twitter query for analysis on Egypt from women’s voices instead of all the balding old men on tv. One of the writings I linked to was an excellent, must-read piece by Azza Karam — “The dignity of Egyptian youth.” In light of Friday’s historic developments, I’d like to revisit a couple passages from Karam’s essay:

The youth bulge in the Arab world (where nearly 60 percent of the population is under thirty years of age) has produced a dividend of human dignity across the region and way beyond. Regardless of what actually transpires, priceless milestones of social awareness, political savvy, cultural pride, and creativity have arisen. A deep yoke of humiliation—from a fear born of oppression and injustice, from a silence created by decades of clinking chains and printed lies, and from the combined pains of hunger, sexual frustration, and the stigma of poverty—has been thrown off. […] What are the specific demands of the youth? Not only the President, but the entire regime “has to go.” […] Their want, their demand, is not just a matter of a verb or a matter of course; it is the act of making this demand in and of itself that is critical.

And:

Every moment lost in removing the strongest symbol of oppression is causing not only loss of life, not only mounting internal dissent, confusion, and violence, but, critically, every moment Mubarak remains in power is an opportunity for those calling on God to dominate the emerging scene. There is already a culture of appealing to God (and those who speak in his name) when there is a sense of helplessness. The Egyptian youth who have been fashioning—with their lives—a new discourse of change over the last eight days, without resorting to Islamist discourse of any kind, but with dignity, with passion, with love for their country and their heritage, must not be let down now. If they are, we will have to accept responsibility for allowing the forces of Islamism to step in as the people’s liberator.

Next up, as quoted by Dan Sisken of Mideast Brief, via his post at Mondoweiss — Arabs seize the ‘permission to narrate’:

Facts do not at all speak for themselves, but require a socially acceptable narrative to absorb, sustain, and circulate them. . . . as Hayden White has noted in a seminal article, “narrative in general, from the folk tale to the novel, from annals to the fully realized ‘history,’ has to do with the topics of law, legality, legitimacy, or, more generally, authority.”
– Edward Said, Permission to Narrate (1984)

Sisken writes:

Just as the Egyptian revolution has liberated the Egyptian people from the grasp of a US-backed authoritarian leader and seems likely to wrench Egypt out of its nearly total reliance on US support and largesse, the Egyptian people–as covered by AlJazeera–may be bringing about a new international media order. […] So, as we watch the unfolding drama of Egyptians reclaiming their voice and destiny, we watch and are enlightened by young and extremely well-informed Arab, and in many cases Egyptian, reporters and analysts. There is no western filter of former government officials, DC think tankers, former military officers, and other US policy wonks. No, what we are now witnessing is Arabs and Egyptians, not only making their own history, but having the international stature and reach to narrate it as well.

If you didn’t click on the link, you are missing the excellent and completely spot-on side-by-side comparison that Sisken put up of the Egypt coverage from Al Jazeera and the garbage rotating on Fox News.

The screengrabs that Sisken drew on were, by the way, from Salon’s reporting at the end of January that “Al Jazeera’s Egypt coverage embarrasses U.S. cable news channels.”

I could not bear to flip to Fox News for most of the day as hour after hour of celebration continued in the streets of Egypt, but the one and only time I did take a peek, it lasted a painful two seconds–the newsdesk gal was talking about illegal immigration. I thought that spoke volumes.

As you likely have already heard by now, and as the Guardian poetically notes here, February 11th was the day “Ayatollah Khomeini took power in Iran, his Islamic revolution cementing the downfall of the Shah, who had fled into exile – to Egypt.” And, now 32 years later on that same day, Hosni Mubarak has become the former president of Egypt. Another milestone you probably came across in the coverage of Egypt yesterday– exactly 21 years ago from yesterday, Nelson Mandela was released from Robben Island after 27 years of political imprisonment. But, the Guardian also points out that, “On the same date in 1975 Margaret Thatcher succeeded Edward Heath as Conservative party leader. And continuing the theme of divisive female politicians – for Sarah Palin the date has an entirely different significance: it’s her birthday.”

Now, I don’t know what it all means that Palin and Thatcher are tied to February 11th as well (not that it means anything at all), but I’m going to switch gears for the rest of this post. Incidentally enough, earlier in the week the theme I had been thinking of centering my roundup on was “America’s Adaleens.” I don’t know how many of you watch HBO’s Big Love, but the character Adaleen Grant–played by the wonderful Mary Kay Place–is a strong-willed woman, all moxie, yet brainwashed and sells out the sisterhood. Sound familiar? I’ve been seeing her face all week watching the assault on American women continue to unfold–an assault which is unsurprising to me, as I’ve been waving that guttmacher pdf of mini-stupaks erupting across the country in every post I can for the past six months.

But, getting back to Adaleen and women selling out other women. We’ve got quite a few grizzlies in a skirt helping the bastards in Congress avoid doing anything on the economy by declaring armageddon on women’s civil rights. (If you missed Dakinikat’s righteous rant on the war on our rights, please go read it: “They think they own our bodies.”)

Speaking of which, did you happen to catch this piece of tripe from the warped mind of Phyllis Schlafly this week? Is it supposed to be a birthday present to Sarah Palin or something? Whatever it is, it’s a mess. Everything I have to say, I already said on the anniversary of Roe. That’s not feminism Schlafly is criticizing. It’s a figment of her imagination–a convenient strawman to prop up a house of canards. Feminism isn’t about hating housewives. It’s about creating the sociopolitical and economic opportunities such that a woman’s sphere can be *wherever* she makes good. It’s the Schlafly nuts who are hellbent on ostracizing and marginalizing any woman who won’t tow their traditionalist line. They want to assume power by undoing all the work of our foremothers who fought for our rights. And, they want ‘permission to narrate’ on feminism that they have not earned.

So, what do you want to say this Saturday morning? And, what’s on your reading list? Do your thing in the comments and have a great weekend.

[originally posted at Let Them Listen; crossposted at Taylor Marsh and Liberal Rapture]