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Preview: Lyssa Strada

Lyssa Strada



gathering energy and strength from the world's women reports all the news we wish were true... and some that is.



Updated: 2014-10-04T16:48:51.533-07:00

 



New at Lyssa Strada...

2006-08-18T15:48:39.276-07:00

(image)

Urania's Astroblog



The moving van has already arrived at the new site...

2006-08-07T21:00:50.226-07:00

(image) We have moved, lock, stock, barrel, laptop and wi-fi... to our new home, arriving ahead of schedule.

If you link to us... our new address is: http://lyssa-strada.bloggyland.com

Please be patient while we deal with new keys & configurations.

Any difficulties encountered in entering the site are probably due to my trying to figure out where all of the light switches are.

Praise the goddesses for our great-- and I mean great-- new tech support!




FYI... to Lyssa Strada's readers and contributors...

2006-08-07T11:05:58.666-07:00

...sometime during this next week, assuming all goes according to plan [crosses fingers, knocks on wood], the contents of this blog will be migrated to a new site. The new site will have, once we get things configured and formatted, some features that I think everyone will appreciate.

For example, the most recent comments will scroll down a section of the screen, and no matter how old the relevant post is, you will be able to see that there is a new comment. In addition, you'll be able to find/search for other posts by someone whose work you like (or perhaps don't). We'll also be able to keep important stories, or even just ongoing features, prominently displayed on the "front page."

After the migration is complete, there will probably be formatting to correct, and perhaps images to re-load. Minor details, but we will deal with them. We do ask for your patience during this transition.

If you are a regular contributor, the plan is to send you a new log-in and a temporary password that you can change when you first log in. Commenters may register, too, and then will receive a temporary password, as well, which can then be changed to something you prefer. Of course, commenting will be possible without registering, but there are advantages to registering (and we don't really care what name you use). For example, once all of the configurations are properly set, you'll be able to see what you have read and what you have not, i.e., whether any of the new comments are ones that you have not read.

I am not going to ask anyone to cease posting or commenting during this time, since the nature of the activity-- as well as of the news itself-- means that it is not always easy to schedule online time when something is topical, or when we just have to get something off our chest. Most of us, I suspect, just take advantage of the opportunities as they present themselves. Should there be any posts entered after the migration process has already begun, we can always copy and paste them in after the fact. Just like those last few precious items you always end up moving in your car.

Once the process is underway, we'll start a thread for taking leave... eventually starting one, as well, for a welcoming party at the new site, including virtual refreshments. ;~)



...they're only Arabs, after all, right?

2006-08-05T20:17:10.946-07:00

(image)
The conclusion of Riverbend's most recent post at Baghdad Burning...
[...]
And the world wonders how ‘terrorists’ are created! A 15-year-old Lebanese girl lost five of her siblings and her parents and home in the Qana bombing… Ehud Olmert might as well kill her now because if he thinks she’s going to grow up with anything but hate in her heart towards him and everything he represents, then he’s delusional.

Is this whole debacle the fine line between terrorism and protecting ones nation? If it’s a militia, insurgent or military resistance- then it’s terrorism (unless of course the militia, insurgent(s) and/or resistance are being funded exclusively by the CIA). If it’s the Israeli, American or British army, then it’s a pre-emptive strike, or a ‘war on terror’. No matter the loss of hundreds of innocent lives. No matter the children who died last night- they’re only Arabs, after all, right?

Right?

[photo image: (AP) The Decatur Daily]



Where's the Outrage?

2006-08-03T23:15:51.803-07:00

(Yeah, I know I said I was taking a dandelion break ... I'm working on it.)

Mel Gibson's completely outrageous behaviour during his arrest for drunk driving has captured a lot of attention, especially the anti-semitic commentary, which I am not going to dwell on.

What I want to know is where are all the feminists? Is this not enough to raise our ire even just a little?
A law enforcement source says Gibson then noticed another female sergeant and yelled, "What do you think you're looking at, sugar tits?"



franken-bill or do-nothing-congress? ...a dilemma that epitomizes American political life for average citizens

2006-08-04T10:10:00.030-07:00

I don't always catch Harold Meyerson's columns, but when I do they never disappoint...Yesterday, he autopsied, more elegantly than they deserve, the GOP's craven attempt to join a bill to increase the minimum wage to another-- yes, another! --estate tax cut.I hope you will read the entire column, but just in case you don't, here's a paragraph and a bit more in which Meyerson characterizes the [current] GOP's entire approach to partisan politics: [....] The whole point of the exercise was to come up with a bill that might force some Democrats to vote for an estate tax cut they would otherwise oppose, and enable Republicans to claim they weren't really the Dickensian grotesques that many of them in fact are.Which may be why the Republicans' midnight orations in favor of raising the wage bore minimal resemblance to, say, the Sermon on the Mount. Their tone was best captured by Tennessee Rep. Zach Wamp, a Mayberry Machiavelli if ever there was one, who could not restrain himself from telling House Democrats, "You have seen us really outfox you on this issue tonight." [emphasis added] However, rather than paint too negative a picture, lest we forget how to get up in the mornings... Meyerson is careful to mention some hopeful markers to hearten us:So the solutions for national problems get kicked downstairs. To date 23 states have passed minimum-wage standards higher than the feds' -- and none of them in statutes designed to subvert themselves or play gotcha with the opposition party. States have begun to enact universal health insurance plans, while cities are passing living-wage ordinances. And just this Monday, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Tony Blair signed an agreement between the sovereign state of California and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland to curb greenhouse gas emissions, promote clean fuels and fight global warming. "California will not wait for our federal government to take strong action on global warming," said Schwarzenegger, who understands that for a Republican to win election in Democratic California, he has to be a down-the-line environmentalist. Why is the story of this particular bill an important story here at Lyssa Strada? One, because, as we've written before, the minimum wage bill is a bill that will significantly affect single and divorced mothers and their children. Two, because the passing of even one more unneeded estate tax cut will benefit very few, and many of them have already significantly benefitted financially from the global war on terror, for which they are contributing far less in the way of resources-- whether funding or bodies in the field-- than they are receiving, since the war is being purchased on credit. Long term credit.UPDATE: The GOP-controlled senate failed to pass this misbegotten bill, despite their best efforts at arm-twisting. Kudos to Harry Reid for his leadership in keeping the bill from coming to a vote before the full senate, where a simple majority might have passed it. This story is not over, though, because the Democratic minority (for now) is still dedicated to passing a minimum wage bill without any strings attached. Even waiting for a turnover in congress might not delay it much longer than the GOP's three-step phase in would have. Assuming, that is, that the Democrats take over at least one chamber of congress. Now, if we could just get the politicians to start thinking in terms of $10 per hour as a more reasonable minimum wage...[photo of Rep. Zach Wamp from here][...]



Dandelion Break Anyone?

2006-08-03T05:35:05.320-07:00

(image) I feel like my heart is going to explode into a million tiny pieces, because of stories like these:

Robert Fisk on Qana
When I arrived there, there were a number of, maybe 20, 30 children, the corpses of children, lined up outside the government hospital, hair matted, still in their night clothes. The bomb that killed them was dropped at 1:00 in the morning.

But the odd thing is the idea that for the Israeli military that somehow it’s okay to kill all these children; if a missile is launched 30, 90 feet from their house, that's okay then. ... I’m sitting here, for example, in my house tonight in darkness -- there’s no electricity -- next to a car park. What if someone launches a missile from the car park? Am I supposed to die for that? Is that a death sentence for me? Is that how Israel wages war? If I have children in the basement, are they to die for that? And then I’m told it’s my fault or it’s Hezbollah's fault? You know, these are serious moral questions.
WalMart in Chicago
This is absolutely a very popular ordinance, and it’s popular because people realize that the federal government is not going to do anything, at least in the near future, to raise the minimum wage, and it’s absolutely appalling that it's as low as it is. [emphasis added]
(This is not to miss the point of the story which is that workers got a victory in Chicago with this ordinance requiring big box retailers to pay a living wage if they intend on doing business within the city limits of Chicago.)

Haitian Prisoner So Anne
So Anne’s case is even more scandalous than that of Yvon Neptune, because Neptune was arrested on an arrest warrant, you know, as flawed as it was, whereas So Anne was arrested in the dead of night by U.S. Marines, you know, which had no legal mandate to operate such an arrest, and she's been in jail for even longer than Mr. Neptune.

And the charges are preposterous. They’ve ranged from, as you know, squashing a baby in a mortar and pestle, which was so ridiculous that, of course, nobody could consider that ...
(See also The Violent arrest of Sò Anne by U.S. Marines)

No Blood for Oil 12
The No Blood for Oil 12 - who oppose the war in Iraq - were convicted of obstruction and third-degree trespassing for protesting outside an armed forces recruiting office in Lakewood [CO] in November.
Not to mention the ongoing bombing in what Jon Stewart calls "Israfghyianonanaq", the US' stance on not pressing for any type of cease fire ... well, read the headlines anywhere, turn on the radio or television, talk to people during your break ... simply live and breathe on this tumultuous planet. There seems to be no escaping it.

I'm declaring a brief dandelion break for myself.



ALL SISTER TONGUES

2006-07-31T19:20:32.166-07:00

(image)



Books: Iran Awakening

2006-07-29T18:39:56.403-07:00

Cross-posted from Logs of the Written WordBook Name: Iran AwakeningAuthor: Shirin Ebadi with Azadeh Moaveni (website in Persian)"The moving, inspiring memoir of one of the great women of our times, Shirin Ebadi, winner of the 2003 Nobel Peace Prize and advocate for the oppressed, whose spirit has remained strong in the face of political persecution and despite the challenges she has faced raising a family while pursuing her work."Best known in this country as the lawyer working tirelessly on behalf of Canadian photojournalist, Zara Kazemi – raped, tortured and murdered in Iran – Dr. Ebadi offers us a vivid picture of the struggles of one woman against the system. The book movingly chronicles her childhood in a loving, untraditional family, her upbringing before the Revolution in 1979 that toppled the Shah, her marriage and her religious faith, as well as her life as a mother and lawyer battling an oppressive regime in the courts while bringing up her girls at home."Outspoken, controversial, Shirin Ebadi is one of the most fascinating women today. She rose quickly to become the first female judge in the country; but when the religious authorities declared women unfit to serve as judges she was demoted to clerk in the courtroom she had once presided over. She eventually fought her way back as a human rights lawyer, defending women and children in politically charged cases that most lawyers were afraid to represent. She has been arrested and been the target of assassination, but through it all has spoken out with quiet bravery on behalf of the victims of injustice and discrimination and become a powerful voice for change, almost universally embraced as a hero."Her memoir is a gripping story – a must-read for anyone interested in Zara Kazemi’s case, in the life of a remarkable woman, or in understanding the political and religious upheaval in our world."From: Random HouseEbadi tells a story of conviction and courage. She is determined to bring democracy and equality to the oppressive rule of Iranian fundamentalists. As with all heroes, she does not believe she is doing anything special, only that which must be done. She is one tough cookie who can throw the teachings of the Quaran and its specific interpretations back without hesitation. She has tested the boundaries of the Iranian court system and been punished with jail time and death threats for her determination to see fairness restored to Iran.Favourite passages:On the "new" statutes imposed by the Khomeini regime after the Revolution of 1979: The grim statutes that I would spend the rest of my life fighting stared back at me from the page: the value of a woman's life was half that of a man (for instance, if a car hit both on the street, the cash compensation due to the woman's family was hlaf that due the man's); a woman's testimony in court as a witness to a crime counted only half as much as a man's; a woman had to ask her husband's permission for divorce. The drafters of the penal code had apparently consulted the seventh-century for legal advice. The laws, in short, turned the clock back fourteen hundred years, to the early days of Islam's spread, the days when stoning women for adultery and chopping off the hands of theives were considered appropriate sentences. [p. 51] The komiteh, or morality police, harassed all Iranians - Muslims as well as Iranian Christians and Jews, old people as well as the young - but they preyed upon women with a special enthusiasm. Slowly we learned to cope with the obstacle course that was public space. Dating couples socializing ahead of marriage, for example, would borrow a young niece or nephew on their evenings out, to appear as a family, and pass through checkpoints unmolested. We monitored everything from our personalities to our wardrobes, careful not to express opinions in public, to wear socks with our s[...]



An American/Iraqi Affair?

2006-07-27T21:40:08.230-07:00

I was reading a Broadsheet story this morning, and then tonight found myself wondering... What if the Iraq War were compared with an abusive man/woman relationship?

An already powerful, but still power-hungry, man with plenty of women of his own, sees an exotic and beautiful woman of substance and culture, and decides he wants her too. And not just because she's rich, either, but because he thinks he can convince them both that they are soul mates. Really, he thinks of himself as Higgins to her Eliza, but he cannot say that metaphor out loud without risking being humiliated by his buddies.

Only one problem... she already belongs to another abusive man, and our guy is the one who introduced them in the first place. For some men, such an awkward circumstance might cause them to show just a bit of restraint, if only for the sake of appearances. But not our guy. It doesn't matter to him what winning her might cost him or her or their friends or family... or even their respective communities, so sure is he of her eventual and undying gratitude. So, he makes many grandiose promises about all of the wonderful things he has to offer her, while simultaneously sabotaging even further her already abusive relationship with the other man.

Unbelievably, she declines, but undaunted, he refuses to take no for an answer. It is a testosterone-driven and very ugly scene, including the part that was supposed to be so wonderful when his gang bests the other guy's gang. Unfortunately, our guy's friends get a little carried away with themselves, and the other guy's friends totally flip out.

Too bad that he didn't get better acquainted with her volatile family first, because now her brothers, and their friends, and some cousins, and the neighbors have all gotten involved in what has become a horrific brawl, the like of which has not been seen in some time, even in that neighborhood.

Sadly, yet very true to form... now that the luster has worn off this doomed-from-the-beginning relationship, he is already casting his eyes elsewhere for fresh meat.



Another world is not only possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing.

2006-07-24T23:41:24.550-07:00

In another comment at Political Physics, the author of our previous post, sane yet not, offered a link to a speech by Arundhati Roy, "Confronting Empire," which concludes with the following:
Our strategy should be not only to confront empire, but to lay siege to it. To deprive it of oxygen. To shame it. To mock it. With our art, our music, our literature, our stubbornness, our joy, our brilliance, our sheer relentlessness — and our ability to tell our own stories. Stories that are different from the ones we’re being brainwashed to believe.

The corporate revolution will collapse if we refuse to buy what they are selling — their ideas, their version of history, their wars, their weapons, their notion of inevitability.

Remember this: We be many and they be few. They need us more than we need them.

Another world is not only possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing.

~ Arundhati Roy ~ Porto Alegre, Brazil ~ Jan 27, 2003 ~
* * * * *
Roy's words certainly speak to our intentions at Lyssa Strada, if not yet to our results. So, as we approach our third-month anniversary, we are still inviting other voices we admire to join us, hopefully for some very serious play. (See Dr. O's comment on play in the comment section of this post.)

Unfortunately, there are some voices that we are unable to coax to our pages because they are busy with other responsibilities, while still trying to keep up with their own writing, as well as blogging. For example, this writer, who inspired Dr. O's comment above, is not just one of my favorite bloggers, but one of my favorite writers. Sam's daily writing, the stuff with which she feeds us, embodies Roy words... words that bear repeating:
To shame it. To mock it. With our art, our music, our literature, our stubbornness, our joy, our brilliance, our sheer relentlessness — and our ability to tell our own stories. Stories that are different from the ones we’re being brainwashed to believe.



And the rockets red glare...

2006-07-24T21:35:15.250-07:00

Back in the 1980s when I began to actually care about the world outside my idyllic existence in suburban Massachusetts, I observed something then that continues to be true today......whenever I encountered the words "Middle East" in TV or print, the word "crisis" was never far behind. Today, with the recent escalation of hostilities between Israel and the Lebanon-based Hezbollah, the word "crisis" may soon be replaced with "conflagration" as the conflict threatens to widen and involve other countries in the region.The responsibility for this latest escalation has been laid squarely at the feet of Hezbollah, and in a narrow sense, it is responsible. Yet diplomacy demands that all who are interested in a solution examine more closely the region and its complex dynamics of politics, religion, and culture.It is just such an examination that appears to be lacking in America if one believes the recent public opinion polls that show about 65-70% of Americans support Israel's actions. Though the rest of the world seems to be in agreement that Israel response has been "disproportionate," Americans and its leaders continue to utter the inane comment that, "Israel has the right to defend itself."Perhaps better said would be, "Israel has the right to defend itself with reasonable force against specific, non-civilian targets." The claim that Hezbollah militants hide among the civilian population can not and should not justify random bombardment of civilian areas. As noted bby Mary Ann Sieghart, journalist for the Times, UK:The War on Terror is too easy a pretext for Israel to hide behind. It does not give free licence for a state to bombard the innocent citizens of another in the hope that a few terrorists might be killed in the process. Imagine if we had bombed Dublin in the same way, with more than 300 deaths in a week and half a million people displaced. That would surely have been seen as a war crime.---TheTimesOnline-UK, "The Shocking Silence from No 10," 7/21/06Another international newspaper expressing the world's consensus is The Daily Herald, Canada. Journalist Dan Leger writes,[PM] Harper's statements failed to recognize the disproportionality of Israel’s response to what was really a minor incursion by Hezbollah fighters. I think any fair-minded person would agree that the destruction of Lebanon’s airports, bridges and roads and the killing of hundreds of civilians is a wild overreaction to the immediate threat from the militants..---The Daily Herald, Halifax, Canada, "Why Canada's Response Has Fallen Far Short," 7/24/06Another paper questions the "neocon mentality" that seems to dominate some policymakers' decisions in Washington and Israel:You might say that the mindset of the neocons is very September 12. It has not altered one jot since that day in 2001. It is as if we have learned nothing from the debacle in Iraq about the limits of military force in changing culture and politics in countries we do not fully understand and do not have the expertise or manpower to micro-manage...---The Australian, op-ed piece, "Neocons Face Right Rebellion," 7/24/06UN humanitarian coordinator Jan Egeland, in Beirut this week also weighed in:"This is destruction of block after block of mainly residential areas. I would say it seems to be an excessive use of force in an area with so many citizens." ..."It [Israeli bombardment of civilian areas] makes it a violation of humanitarian law."---CNN Report, 7/23/06 Other world leaders, notably Jacques Chirac of France and Vladimir Putin of Russia, have called for an end to hostilities by both parties and have also criticized Israel for a "disproportionate" response. Indeed, at a United Nations emergency meeting last week, out of 192 member nations, 189 supported an immediate ceasefire in the Isr[...]



Who Are the Terrorists?

2006-07-23T22:44:33.933-07:00

"Regrettably, Suzanne Swift is not the first," says Anita Sanchez, communications director of the Miles Foundation, a non-profit organization that provides services to victims of military violence. "There have been several young women who have been declared AWOL for seeking treatment due to sexual assault, but most of them are too scared to speak out."
...
Another recent case involved a young American woman who was raped by an Afghan soldier in a rural area. Sanchez says it took two weeks to get to a one-room medical facility in Kabul. "They had no facilities to do a rape testing, so they couldn't test for pregnancy or HIV. An American doctor literally handed her high dose antibiotics and told her, 'This will kill anything you've come in contact with.'" The young woman is now recovering in the states.
...
"This administration justified going to war because we said we wanted to stop Saddam's rape rooms. This administration said we can't afford to have priests raping and yet in the same breath and lack of action, our own military leadership are free to rape at absolute carte blanche. This has been going on for too long. We must hold the government accountable for refusing to deal with this issue."
[ Female Soldiers Treated "Lower Than Dirt"]
I think commentary from me would be extraneous.



She's a What?

2006-07-23T11:56:07.853-07:00

Jeffrey Sebelia, one of the designers on season 3 of Project Runway just needs to go. He's a creepy little man with an arrogant attitude that exposes his small mind and sexist bs at every turn. (Yes, I can hear my co-workers now, "but how do you really feel?")I suppose I should also introduce Angela Keslar who is ham fisted in her attempts at manipulating situations and, oddly for a designer, doesn't sketch.There are several designers I just don't care for and whose work has yet to show they actually deserve to be there. It's only because someone's work was even worse than theirs, that they are still in the competition. Angela and Jeffrey are 2 of those designers.Episode 2's challenge was for teams of 2 to create a gown for Miss USA to wear to the Miss Universe pageant. I can't even find a picture of Jeffrey's gown to remind myself what it looked like. Angela "worked" with Vincent Libretti who kept shoving her away, making it a one-man show full of pouting and anger.(Believe it or not, I am actually getting to the point of this post.)As designers are busily sketching their ideas to present to Miss USA, Angela is trying to convince Kayne Gillaspie who has pageant experience to choose her as his teammate. To no one's surprise, Angela is the last designer standing and, by default, goes to Vincent.In the apartment Vincent is bitching up a storm about Angela and Jeffrey pokes his head out of the bathroom and says, "I have one word for you ... feminazi." (You can see a clip from the video mashup I created at Project Runway's website.)What the ......? Feminazi? Angela is a lot of things but feminazi? Just so we are clear, here's the Wikipedia definition of feminaziFeminazi (also spelled femme-nazi) is an invective neologism used predominantly in United States political rhetoric to characterize women whose ideas are believed to be vehemently misandrous; i.e.- having an irrational and extreme hatred of men....The term feminazi has developed various connotations. To some pro-life conservatives, it equates feminist advocacy for abortion rights with promoting a holocaust. Others use the word rhetorically to suggest feminist views are being expressed in a unilateral manner. Others see the term as an example of hate speech.In the extreme formulation, feminazis are seen by some as women who persecute men or who desire their elimination from the public discourse and any involvement into public affairs. The term is often used as a derogatory term for feminist.It is clear that Jeffrey is simply using this word in a derogatory manner, the same way he would have used "bitch." It is also clear that he does not understand the true meaning of the word and has just decided to use this word to slander Angela and her character.In this particular episode, Angela does not espouse feminist rhetoric of any sort, in fact she is quite delighted they will be designing for Miss USA. She does not express hatred for men, and is in fact married to one.I was disgusted by Angela's behaviour and really felt she should have been the one to be eliminated. But she in no way was doing it out of a feminist mindset, she was only being Angela.Jeffrey, on the other hand, offends me. As do all men who are quick to write all women off based on the personality flaws of one woman.[cross posted from Blither Blather Boviate][...]



Serendipitous synchronicity

2006-07-22T15:01:43.810-07:00

Karen's post about Dr. Ben Barres was a serendipitous post of synchronicity. The roomful of clerks were just discussing something similar.

What woman among us can say that she has not experienced some of these gender-based reactions regardless of her academic background?

I have often fallen into the trap of not believing certain episodes were sexism. I too believed that if I could do it, anyone could. It was not only a lack of faith in my ability but a blindness to sexism as well.

It has been only a few short years since I began to flower into the more aware feminist whose words you now read. Not only is it important for all of us regardless of gender to wake up and read the statistics, it's also important to learn to value each other for the contributions we all make.

It is Barres' unique perspective that leads me to understand this:
You write that as a man, you can complete a sentence without being interrupted.
I hadn't given any thought to my experiences with this as particularly sexist, I merely thought they were being rude. On a personal level, maybe they just are. On a larger level, are they sexist? Having not seen this in action where my interrupters and other people are concerned, I can't say for sure but it does give one pause. And it makes me wonder what other experiences may be systematic sexism. But how does one go about rooting those out?

I applaud Dr. Barres for his willingness to speak from his own experiences and to have persistently pursued his goals, both as a woman and now as a man.



Another modern-day Tiresias speaks out...

2006-07-22T12:08:49.380-07:00

...but this time it's not about who--men or women?-- enjoys sex more, but rather about the bias against high-achieving women in Science.

(image) Ben Barres' experience of life as both a woman and a man-- a gift of Science, not the gods-- makes him uniquely qualified to speak to this gender controversy... and he has been thinking about it ever since Harvard President Larry Summers made his unfortunate remark about the lack of women in Science.

Read Barres' perspective...




Perhaps... Laurastrata?

2006-07-20T11:22:28.433-07:00

A blogger's greatest hope, whether he or she admits it or not, is to have some impact on the status quo. Perhaps this blog has had an effect on the First Lady-- but more likely not. Regardless, we do have to wonder now whether she might have given her husband a deadline on her own. Something along the lines of... Nothing doing, George, until you get those young men and women out of Iraq and we can stop being responsible-- whether directly or indirectly-- for all of those civilian deaths. For crying out loud, George, how can you possibly expect War not to be a mood killer?For, unlike her husband, I suspect that Mrs. Bush, who is an intelligent woman, must be aware of the fact that most of the deaths in modern wars are not of soldiers, but of civilians, and that most of these are of women and children. And, truly, how can that not be a mood killer?To be honest, the notion of Mrs. Bush enacting her own version of Lysistrata did not occur to me until I was trying to think of a possible explanation for her husband's allowing himself to be videotaped massaging another woman's neck and shoulders. Although I don't disagree with the other analyses, I still felt the need to discover a catalyst that could make it actually happen. Nor am I particularly interested in the Bushes' personal life. I've never been one to speculate on such things for any couple, whether I know them or not. It's simply my temperament that I prefer to shield both others' privacy and my own sensibilities...Yet, how can one not be curious about such a video clip? There, in broad daylight-- with cameras running!-- the so-called leader of the (once-)free world, THE self-proclaimed Decider, decides, as it were, to lay his hands upon another world leader, who happens to be a woman not his wife, in a manner that is generally reserved for one's intimates (even though the expression on his face was not particularly inviting or intimate, and Chancellor Merkel appeared to be appalled at being so accosted)! Was it just his typical arrogance? Or an ignorance of the normal boundaries among civilized peoples when conducting important state business? Perhaps frustration because his wife has been less affectionate lately, or maybe for much longer? One cannot help but wonder what would make a man in such a position of power once more show to all the world how little he values exercising restraint in using his power.Of course, we cannot really know what Laura Bush must be thinking about her husband's public performance-- whether knowing or not-- at the G-8 Conference... but we certainly can speculate, as I did earlier today in an email exchange with Mark Hoback when he posted the lyrics of "Creep" juxtaposed with altered stills of Bush with German Chancellor Angela Merkel:"Thank god! He's finally bothering someone else instead of me!""Good grief! What was he thinking?! Idiot!" For the full picture, see Taylor Marsh's post, complete with stills, video, links, and updates; be sure to check out Wolcott's link in one of the later updates.photo: source[...]



Women Need to Clean Up Their Own Act

2006-07-18T20:05:02.650-07:00

(Thanks to NotSoccerMom and the link from her blog.)

This is one reason women get a bad reputation and so few take us seriously. Calling the 911 dispatcher to ask for a message to be passed on to a cute deputy is just wrong on so many levels. Last time I looked, the emergency services were not dating services. As long as women pull stupid stunts like this, men will continue to think we are nothing but desperate and not to be trusted. (Wide sweeping generalizations to be taken with a grain of salt.)



creep

2006-07-18T11:19:52.460-07:00


(image)

When you were here before,
couldn't look you in the eye.
You're just like an angel,
your skin makes me cry.
You float like a feather,
in a beautiful world
I wish I was special,
you're so fucking special.

(image)

But I'm a creep, I'm a weirdo.
What the hell am I doing here?
I don't belong here.

(image)

I don't care if it hurts,
I want to have control.
I want a perfect body,
I want a perfect soul.
I want you to notice,
when I'm not around.
You're so fucking special,
I wish I was special.

(image)

But I'm a creep, I'm a weirdo.
What the hell am I doing here?.
I don't belong here

(image)

She's running out the door,
she's running,
she run, run, run, run, run.

(image)

Whatever makes you happy,
whatever you want.
You're so fucking special,
I wish I was special,

(image)

but I'm a creep, I'm a weirdo.
What the hell am I doing here?
I don't belong here,
I don't belong here.

Creep © 1993, Thom Yorke




Women for Women International...

2006-07-17T13:14:24.596-07:00

...matches up women from around the world with their sisters in war-torn countries in order to support them in their efforts to recover and become self-sustaining citizens, as well as advocates for other women.What does it take? Just $27 per month for a year, to help a woman get back on her feet. Not only that, but her children benefit, and so does her community. But any donation is welcome.Read just two paragraphs from their site, on the page where they explain "Why we do it:"Across the globe, undeclared wars and internal armed conflicts have reached an unprecedented number. There have been more than 250 major wars since the end of World War II, resulting in over 23 million casualties. Modern warfare is no longer confined to battlefields; around the world, non-combatants are in the direct line of fire, suffering greatly and becoming the anonymous and undercounted casualties of violent conflicts. In today’s wars, 90 percent of casualties are civilians, 75 percent of whom are women and children; a century ago, 90 percent of war casualties were male soldiers. [emphasis added]As never before, women are disproportionately affected by war and civil strife. Women are targeted for ethnic cleansing and subjected to rape as a tool of war. They lose male family members who leave to fight and are killed. Many are displaced from their own homes. When widowed by war, they are thrust into the role of sole provider, often without marketable skills or a viable means to earn an income and often in communities that do not value their place in society."Believe it or not-- this worldwide safety net for women in dire need was the vision of a 23-yr old Iraqi woman who was going to school in the U.S. after being stranded here when Kuwait was invaded and she could not return home. She already knew from personal experience what it was like to live with war as part of one's daily life..."Women who survive war are strong, resilient and courageous – they just need some support dealing with the aftermath of conflict,” Ms. Salbi says. “So, we give them the tools they need to help themselves and their families, while providing them with the education to be leaders and advocates in their communities.” - Zainab Salbin, founder & CEO of Women for Women International Thanks to Urania's 9th House for the link to Women for Women ~~~ photo: source[...]



Women of the Storm

2006-07-15T23:25:18.996-07:00

(image) from a press release:

WASHINGTON, Jan. 30 /PRNewswire/ -- An alliance of South Louisiana women calling themselves "Women of the Storm" today traveled to Washington to invite federal officials to visit Louisiana and see first-hand the devastation caused by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. More than four months after the deadly storms struck Louisiana's coast, only 13 percent of Congress and 30 percent of the Senate have visited the site of the worst natural disaster in U.S. history.

"Historians will look back on this period of time following Hurricanes Katrina and Rita as a defining moment for both our state and nation," said Anne Milling, Founder of Women of the Storm. "To neglect the needs of this vital region sets an unimaginable precedent for America's response to future catastrophes in our nation. Our elected leaders need to see for themselves -- block by block, mile by mile -- the immense devastation and the pressing challenges still faced by so many people in this region."

link to more of their story ~



Why feminisim and being anti-war intersect so fiercely...

2006-07-13T13:41:15.560-07:00

Women all over the world-- as a group-- have the most skin in the game when it comes to wars, even if they aren't formally fighting on the front-lines... Children they have already born and raised are expected to become cannon fodder-- willingly; children they are still raising may become cannon fodder merely by accident; and yet, women are are expected to be innocent enough to be eternal optimists, expected, as such, to reproduce even more cannon fodder, in order to keep the machines of war (and its attendant industries, for that matter) humming along. *In addition to losing their children, or their own fathers or brothers, they may also lose their children's fathers, leaving them to explain it in some way, that will allow them to preserve whatever might be left of their children's own innocence.In some wars, women's and girls' own bodies have been used as repositories for acts of ethnic cleansing, making rape, finally, an act of war or terror, and punishable as a war crime. In other wars, women and girls are raped and tortured-- if not to gain some sort of "actionable intelligence"-- then merely for sport or as an outlet for soldiers' rage.Knowing these things, perhaps you, too, feel as utterly outraged as I do that rightwing ranters, who still feel entitled to support this misbegotten war in Iraq, feel equally entitled to mock the women of CodePink and their supporters during their Fast opposing the war, just because it does not fit all of their (the right-wingers') parameters of what constitutes a proper Fast! They mock them because they can. Because they are mocking women (mostly), who are unprotected by humvees, flack jackets, and automatic rifles, and "armed" only with their uteruses (and their minds and hearts?) to distinguish them from the war mongerers. (Yes, I know there are some right-wing women who support the war-- and I ascribe that enigma to a dominant Athena archetype in their personalities.)What I really want to know is whether the under-documented, but well-anecdoted, cases of innocent civilians, especially those including women and girls being raped, tortured and murdered will allow this same war to fall within their own parameters of a well-thought-out and -executed war? Just wondering...However, given the lack of coverage of the real Iraq in the MSM, perhaps one should give the War's supporters the benefit of the doubt, in case such ranters are not aware of the "situation on the ground" as it is now for most Iraqi women. If so, and if you know any, you might invite them to read some of the following...In spite of rape being vastly under-reported in Iraq, reports of horrific abuse are beginning to accumulate, and are listed and summarized in this report on "Sexual Terrorism and Iraqi Women," by Ruth Rosen (author of The World Split Open) on TomDispatch.com.Mostly likely the war-supporting ranters were/are aware of the story of the young Iraqi girl/woman who was raped, murdered, her body burned, and her family slain, but still consider such an outrage to be a rare occurrence. Perhaps it was, since her family was slain, too. However Rosen's writings, as well as other sources cited just prior to her article indicate that the problem is much more wide-spread, but vastly underreported. Underreported, because these rapes occur in a culture where the shame of rape attaches itself, not to the perpetrator, but to the woman, often resulting in honor killings, not just of the perpetrator, but often of the woman (or girl!) herself.Tom Englehardt als[...]



So... who's covering the Fast for Peace?

2006-07-10T20:17:32.550-07:00

Not surprisingly, the rightwing blogs are having a heydey, focusing primarily on Cindy Sheehan's participation as they further burnish her media image, and on the fact that not all of the Fasters will be fasting continuously. (Yes-- some people who wish to protest the war do have other responsibilities that mean lesser commitments. So?) And... a lot of the conservative blogs don't even get all of the facts right-- but what else is new? Nor did I come across any that mentioned that the women of CodePink are planning-- not necessarily to cease their Fast in September, but-- to up the ante, by encouraging acts of civil disobedience.

Nor is it a surprise that the majority of the MSM outlets have not given this story much coverage-- if any. However, there are a lot of stories in smaller papers (e.g., Charleston Daily Mail, Half Moon Bay, Killeen Daily Herald, Portsmouth Herald,) and other online news sources. For example, this one on Axcess News and elsewhere, by A. N. Hernandez, has a bit more detail about Diane Wilson, and her previous fasts, as well as some of the other higher-profile fasters.

The most interesting thing about the coverage is that many of the smaller and regional papers' stories about the Fast are actually about local residents joining in the CodePink hunger strike in Washington. Remember the protesting multitudes before and during the run-up to the War, standing on street corners and main streets all across the country? And the candlelight vigils? And-- the lack of coverage in the MSM, or the degree to which the opposition to the War was downplayed whenever there was a story? I think this story could be something similar. Except... local papers, who are less beholden to the ways of Washington, may actually lead the way in covering this anti-war effort, just as the MSM should have done. Before the War.



Movies and Fasting

2006-07-07T16:53:18.993-07:00

I watched the riveting HBO movie Iron Jawed Angels last night. It begins in 1912 with Alice Paul and Lucy Burns leading the next generation of suffragettes through 8 years of activism that finally leads to the ratification of the 19th amendment on August 20th, 1920.This is a powerful, important movie. While a fictionalized version of events, it stays true to the heart of those infamous events led by a group of dedicated activists determined to gain the right of voting for everyone. It's horrifying to actually see activists stoned for quietly, and peacefully, picketing in front of the White House. Women are egged, stoned, attacked and spat upon by spectators.Inside those hallowed halls, politicans are plotting how to get rid of them. One telling scene has one man saying they ought to be jailed for treason because of the remarks stitched onto the women's banners. The other man in the room points out that the women are quoting President Woodrow Wilson himself.The most inspiring, yet most terrifying, scenes are the ones set in Occoquan, a Virginia women's "workhouse." This is where the hunger strikes come in. Alice Paul refuses to eat. When taken out of solitary and returned to the general population, she still refuses to eat and inspires the rest of the suffragettes at Occoquan to join the hunger strike. Paul is force fed in the most horrifying ways and the story does not flinch from this horror.It is not hard to draw parallels between a movement that happened not quite 100 years ago to a movement that is happening now. Especially when things like this happen.Geoffrey Millard, 25, an Iraq War veteran who served on active combat duty for 13 months, walked into a break in the parade with a sign that read: “Support the Troops, Bring Them Home Now.” He was dressed in his military jacket with “Iraq Veterans Against the War” on the back and his many medals pinned to the front. He was stopped by the police, and when he tried again to enter the parade with his anti-war message and was subsequently arrested.Also arrested was Chloe Jon-Paul, 71, of CODEPINK: Women for Peace. She attempted to enter the march with her sign after Millard, and was also arrested by the police.While she was being arrested, Jon-Paul said to the police, “I’m a 71-year-old woman. I don’t want to be arrested. But if you’re preventing our veterans from speaking for peace by arresting them, well, you’ll have to arrest me too.”GW isn't the first to have people arrested for exercising their 1st amendment rights and disagreeing with him. But he should learn from the history books, Wilson changed his position and supported the 19th amendment, called the Susan B. Anthony amendment.The current administration needs to learn that you can't keep the discontent quiet and the energy of dedicated activists is not a power to be fooled with.[...]



It Bears Repeating

2006-07-07T00:10:52.830-07:00

Women in Iraq are getting the shaft when it comes to rights. Terri Judd's article For the Women of Iraq, the War Is Just Beginning last month covered some of the many atrocities anyone not of the male gender faces. It's horrifying to think things were better for women under Saddam Hussein's regime.
Under Saddam, women played little part in political life but businesswomen and academics travelled the country unchallenged while their daughters mixed freely with male students at university.
Now women are being shaved bald for not wearing a scarf or are stoned for wearing make-up. Wearing pants is considered a killing offense.

It is clear that fundamentalist Islamic men, like their fundamentalist Christian counterparts, are not reading their holy books and remembering their religious history. They have forgotten
Muhammad became a merchant. One of his employers was Khadijah, a forty-year-old widow. She was impressed with Muhammad's character and intelligence, and proposed to him in the year 595. Muhammad consented to the marriage, which by all accounts was a happy one. [1]
Yes, you read that right. Muhammad's (peace be unto him) wife was a business woman and proposed to him. He worked for a woman, married her and had children. When he began to receive revelations from Allah, she supported his work and converted, helping to spread the word of Islam.

There is no way I can be sure, but I'll bet both Muhammad and Jesus are seriously angry at what is happening in their "name" right now.

Source: [1] Wikipedia - Mohammed