February 21, 2011
Image via Wikipedia
Planned Parenthood has a really descriptive name. It does exactly what the name implies. We don’t talk much about “family planning” these days, and we should.
Before modern science kicked in, conception was, for the most part, a game of roulette. Folk remedies and leather condoms weren’t nearly as effective as people wanted them to be, but they kept trying. All it took was some observation and life experience to see how inconvenient–and dangerous–the lack of control could be.
When a woman gives birth too young, she and the child suffer. (18 is the minimum recommended.) If she has children too close together, she and both children can suffer. Doctors and midwives knew these things; parents knew them. But what do you say to a couple who have had the number of children they want? Spend the rest of your lives together in separate beds? More babies happened.
Margaret Sanger, Planned Parenthood’s first president, was a remarkable woman who saw the effect this had on people, particularly poor people and women. She also saw this suffering as, at best, unnecessary. At worst, it was a deliberate means of keeping women in subjugation.
In 1912, after a fire destroyed the home that William designed, the Sanger family moved back to New York City, where Margaret went to work in the East Side slums of Manhattan. That same year, she also started writing a column for the New York Call entitled “What Every Girl Should Know.” Distributing a pamphlet, Family Limitation, to women, Sanger repeatedly caused scandal and risked imprisonment by acting in defiance of the Comstock Law of 1873, which outlawed as obscene the dissemination of contraceptive information and devices.
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January 30, 2011
Egypt is being rocked from the bottom up.
Al Jazeera (which has had its Cairo office shut down by the Egyptian government) reports:
9:27 am [Egypt local time]: Making the rounds on the social networking site Facebook is an album compiled by user Leil-Zahra Mortada, who is collecting photos of women in the Egypt protests.
Mortada, the album‘s compiler says:
For everyone who has been asking where the women of Egypt are! I´m trying to compile all the photos with Egyptian women in them.
A homage to all those women out there fighting, and whose voices and faces are hidden from the public eye!
You’ll need a Facebook login to see the full album. If you don’t have one, here are some highlights.
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January 15, 2011
This is probably not all that appropriate, since its mostly just a rant. But, I don’t care. I feel that I need to say something. And, I feel that this is a way to reach many people.
Yes, this is a rant about the recent shootings in Tuscon, AZ, and the violent rhetoric and imagery that foreshadowed it.
Its normal in any country for the politicians and other leadership to be unable to satisfy all of the people all of the time. That’s something that can’t be got away from. And that means there will always be civil and/or political unrest of some sort. That’s normal. That’s healthy for a nation.
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December 30, 2010
HPV. Image via Wikipedia
If someone came up to you, out walking with your young child, and said, “Hey there, I have a vaccine that will prevent your child from ever getting a black eye!” would you say, “How insulting! My child will NEVER have a black eye! I am raising him/her properly and they shall never get into any sort of a scuffle! We use our WORDS in this family!”
(This would, of course, be followed by an incident where your child has an accident that gets them not one, but two black eyes.)
Of course you wouldn’t say this. You would recognize that accidents happen, that even if your child is an angel other people are not, and that your little darling might have a moment of poor judgment at some point in the future. You might still refuse the vaccine, but you wouldn’t act as though this sales rep were trying to blacken the family name.
That’s why I don’t understand statements like this:
“I was greatly offended that Merck suggest I vaccinate my nine-year-old daughter against an STD,” says Kelley Watson, a mother of two in the Chicago suburb of Oak Park.
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December 10, 2010
via David Horsey
Management would like to introduce a segment called Politics and Outrage. This segment will link newsworthy items along with commentary. We SHOULD care about the news. We hope this segment will spark lively discussion in the comments.
This segment will run as often as V will write it for us.
Fox News advocates murder and assassination on air — This is mostly a video, and at first I was only going to show the YouTube link, but I liked what the blogger had to say about the video. Nothing like calls for murder and the stifling of free speech to start your day, right
Sign of the Devil…or perhaps just encouragement — Apparently, some people (and school officials) in a Utah town dislike the idea of their elementary school kids seeing the word, “suicide” on someone’s signs on their own private property. At first, this makes sense. Until you stop and think for a moment, and realize that even elementary school kids can and have committed suicide before (although perhaps not necessarily for THIS purpose) and the man has his eye on the future — starting positive messages NOW rather than waiting until its already too late.
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October 14, 2010
Dan Savage is one of my favorite people. I never miss a Savage Love column.
He is a gay man, in a long-term relationship with his partner. They have a son. They are a happy, stable, loving family.
But their lives weren’t always so pleasant.
And that is why Dan has founded the It Gets Better Project, to reach out to young people who feel hopeless. It is for LGBTQ kids, but also for anyone who has suffered bullying or public shaming. The message is simple, and heartfelt. It gets better. You won’t always in middle or high school, you won’t always live with a family that doesn’t understand. The plea is wrought with emotion: Stick around, don’t give up on life before it can get better!
Below the cut are embedded videos, amazing videos submitted by people who want to tell kids that it gets better. Or, watch them all here: http://www.youtube.com/user/itgetsbetterproject
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September 30, 2010
Image by dlemieux via Flickr
There’s a great entry on the Huffington Post about Haiti, and how its upcoming elections could be game-changing. Haiti was devastated by an earthquake this past January, a near-fatal blow to an already teetering nation.
Actress Maria Bello wants you to know that lots of women are running for office in Haiti, and why that’s important.
The national elections are at the end of November and the truth is this: If more women win seats in Congress and Senate, it will change the political game in Haiti and be a model for other developing nations. A recent World Bank study found that an increase of women in government has been shown to decrease corruption. Other studies are showing that countries that have high percentages of women in leadership positions are more apt to focus on children’s health and education, social justice and economic stability. A case in point is Rwanda post-genocide, which now has the highest percentage of women in the electorate and one of the fastest growing economies in Africa.
I’ve heard this before, about women in government creating and maintaining systems that benefit people on the ground. I call that a very good reason to encourage more women to enter politics.
Now, before you cry ‘hypocrite,’ let me make it clear that I don’t think all these women should be ushered into office regardless of their skills or positions. Hell, we don’t want the Haitian Sarah Palin taking over! No, these women should be vetted like any other candidate. These studies indicate that a higher percentage of women in government will ultimately be beneficial, but that doesn’t mean the system itself should be circumvented.
I highly recommend reading the whole post: Maria Bello: Wyclef’s Out, but Women Are In (VIDEO).
September 22, 2010
Image via Wikipedia
US Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia has said some highly offensive things in the past, and made rulings that still make blood boil. But this latest statement is outrageous.
Leave it to Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia to argue that the Constitution does not, in fact, bar sex discrimination.
Even though the court has said for decades that the equal-protection clause protects women (and, for that matter, men) from sex discrimination, the outspoken, controversial Scalia claimed late last week that women’s equality is entirely up to the political branches. “If the current society wants to outlaw discrimination by sex,” he told an audience at the University of California’s Hastings College of the Law, “you have legislatures.”
But Justice Scalia’s attack on the constitutional rights of women — and of gays, whom he also brushed off — is not just his usual mouthing off. One of his colleagues on the nation’s highest court, Justice Stephen Breyer, has just come out with a book called Making Our Democracy Work: A Judge’s View, which rightly argues that the Constitution is a living document — one that the founders intended to grow over time, to keep up with new events. Justice Scalia is roaring back in defense of “originalism,” his view that the Constitution is stuck in the meaning it had when it was written in the 18th century.
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September 18, 2010
We’ve run several posts recently about women achieving in politics, both through election and appointment. But there are plenty of women getting ahead in politics right now who I am not happy to cheer for. I’m talking about women like Sharon Angle, Sarah Palin, Michelle Bachman, Christine O’Donnell–the list is growing apace, which is itself highly unusual. When did women become so ubiquitous in US politics? And why on earth are so many of them conservative?
There’s a notion floating right now that conservative women are ‘taking back’ feminism. They’re gonna wrench the womens movement out of the hands of screechy, man-hating, too-ugly-to-get-a-date-so-I-went-lesbian feminists, and turn it into a means to justify the lifestyles they themselves are now leading (lifestyles made possible by those feminists). I am happy for these women who are taking to politics, but I’m not happy about the ones who use their soapboxes to work against womens’ interests. There’s nothing like the hypocrisy of, say, Ann Coulter, who says women are too stupid to vote or manage money, yet she herself has made quite a pretty penny telling people how they should vote.
This year’s influx of female candidates is so anti-abortion, they qualify as anti-woman. Too many do not support the one clause that usually makes anti-abortion legislation more widely palatable–they don’t support exceptions in the case of rape or incest.
MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow ran a segment this week about “Women Candidates vs. Womens’ Rights.” Go watch the video here, or continue reading for quotes. There are some beautiful ones from both her and her guest, Melissa Harris-Lacewell.
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