The Widdershins

Posts Tagged ‘The Haps

I couldn’t keep to one topic today, Widdershins. There’s just so much going on. Let’s get to it!

Some of our friends at Occupy Wall Street (or St) have decided they should trademark the name.

Attorney Samuel Cohen represents the protesters in Zuccotti Park. He says they applied Oct. 24 to trademark the name of their movement with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

Cohen says the filing was a “defensive move” to ensure that nobody tried to use the “Occupy Wall Street” name for “improper purposes.”

Improper purposes…you mean like all the exhortations for money I’ve been receiving from various and sundry Obamatized groups who are throwing OWS’ name around like a partner in a hoedown? Yeah, I think it’s a very good idea.

In more “Occupy” news, the movement has been gaining notoriety in Oakland, as a general strike is planned for today. Reactions from Oakland’s citizens have been mixed, and there has been some violence as well.

….some blue collar citizens far removed from the plaza complain that precious funds are being squandered on the movement in a city that has endured heavy budget cuts in recent years. José, 57, the manager of a copy shop in West Oakland, would rather see limited resources spent on a struggling education system that may soon lose about 15 schools. Better policing in his neighborhood would also help. “Every other day I have to clean graffiti off these walls,” he says.

Protesters counter that they are not the ones who wasted taxpayer dollars by deploying riot police and cleanup crews, insisting that they can look after their own turf. Bob, 25, a part-time teacher giving information to passersby at the plaza, says camp residents have gotten better about managing volatile elements that were an issue at the outset. On three occasions in the past day, he notes, individuals acting violently were promptly and peacefully removed. “We need to be tolerant but can also police our own if need be,” he says. “We’re not going anywhere.”

Indeed, the movement is digging in for the long haul, with a Wednesday general strike aimed at consolidating the past week’s gains. At a nearby table, Sonya, 23, from Yonkers, N.Y., stenciled, “Ask Me Why I’m Striking” onto T-shirts with spray paint for a gaggle of children who had visited with their parents. The public-health intern could sympathize with merchants reluctant to lose a day’s income. “It’s scary to leave work for a day, to have no business for a day,” she says. “But in the long term, it’s small businesses and workers that are getting screwed over. They should weigh the long-term benefit with short-term costs — it’s really about the big picture.”

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Credit: Reuters/Luc Gnago

There are so many extraordinary, unbelievable women around the world, Widdershins, and today I’m going to take some time to honor them. For example, these three Nobel Peace Prize-winning ladies. As Gawker somewhat snarkily noted,

Liberian peace activist Leyma Gbowee, Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, and Yemeni democracy activist Tawakkul Karman somehow beat animal rights advocate and Egyptian revolutionary Mark Zuckerberg in winning the Nobel Peace Prize. What could these women possibly have done to outshine the man who has perhaps done more to liberate private informationthan anyone else?


  • Karman leads Women Journalists Without Chains, a human rights group, and has organized protests against the president
  • Sirleaf, aka “Iron Lady,” has used her position to promote peace and women’s equality
  • Gbowee has also advocated for women and campaigned against rape

Yeah, but how much money have they made for investors? Money is peace.

I love “Money is Peace!” I am SO stealing that.

In all seriousness, here is what the Committee said about why they chose the women they did.

The Norwegian Nobel Committee honored the three women “for their nonviolent struggle for the safety of women and for women’s rights to full participation in peace-building work.”

“We cannot achieve democracy and lasting peace in the world unless women obtain the same opportunities as men to influence developments at all levels of society,” the prize committee said.

Committee chairman Thorbjorn Jagland said he hoped the prize would bring more attention to rape and other violence against women as well as women’s role in promoting democracy in Africa and the Arab and Muslim world.

CBS News foreign affairs analyst Pamela Falk says this year’s Nobel Peace Prize announcement came as a surprise because the lion’s share of the awards – 776 to 40 – have gone to men. Falk says the announcement also made a point to draw attention to the United Nations’ effort to protect women against violence and in establishing a new division devoted to women in international diplomacy.

Well, I can’t say I’m a big fan of the UN, but I’m happy that they have at least started showing a little awareness of the global epidemic of violence against women. This January 2011 newsletter from UN Women is well worth a read.

Johnson Sirleaf, as I write this, is up for re-election in Liberia and has an early lead. Let’s hope she prevails.

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It’s Feminist Friday before Memorial Day Weekend, and you’ll be happy to know that I was able to find some good news out there amid all the gloom and doom.

As you may be aware, Ed Schultz of MSNBO thought he could get away with referring to right-wing talk-show host Laura Ingraham as a “slut.” He was wrong.

Schultz opened his primetime MSNBC show on Wednesday apologizing to Ingraham, MSNBC, his family and viewers.

“It doesn’t matter that I was on radio ad-libbing,” Schultz said of his comments the day before. “What I said was terribly vile.”

Schultz met with MSNBC management earlier in the day on Wednesday, and said he offered to take himself off the air indefinitely and without pay. The network said the suspension would be one week.

“I have embarrassed my family,” he added, before turning the show over to substitute host Thomas Roberts. “I have embarrassed this company. The only way I can prove my sincerity in all of this is if I never use those words again. You have my word I won’t.”

Schultz said that he tried–unsuccessfully–to reach Ingraham to apologize personally.

Network brass released this statement before Schultz went on the air: “MSNBC management met with Ed Schultz this afternoon and accepted his offer to take one week of unpaid leave for the remarks he made yesterday on his radio program. Ed will address these remarks on his show tonight, and immediately following begin his leave. Remarks of this nature are unacceptable and will not be tolerated.”

The Women’s Media Center and partnered up to petition MSNBO to suspend Schultz for his remarks, and they did it. Way to go, ladies and gentlemen! To his credit, Schultz sounded very sincere in his apology. If Ed didn’t think twice about saying the word “slut” before, he certainly will now.

Meanwhile, our favorite “scientist,” Satoshi Kanazawa, is metaphorically bloodied but sadly, unbowed by the firestorm caused by his disgusting article in Psychology Today. We’re still trying, though! The petitions are flying. My little one passed 100 signatures two days ago, thanks to the efforts of people at TW and Corrente. But I was not the first one to petition Psychology Today about this “Scientific Fundamentalist.” There’s another petition to much the same effect – with 29,000+ signatures! Check it out:

Psychology Today is not just a magazine and website, but it’s also a site that people access resources for mental health services for their well being.  Publishing damaging and crude articles such as Kanazawa’s demonstrates a profound disrespect for anyone who turns to Psychology Today for these resources.

Though Psychology Today has removed the article from their website without explanation, the editors have not acknowledged or taken responsibility for publishing the article, discussed the editorial standards they require from their contributors and whether this article satisfied those standards, or explained why Kanazawa remains as a contributor, despite being discredited by other social scientists.  Psychology Today editors have a journalistic and ethical duty to be both transparent about how this article was published and accountable for this failure in public trust.

Because of the damage that this kind of misinformation creates for both the public and Psychology Today, we demand the following:

1) a public statement from Psychology Today editors demonstrating accountability for the article itself and the editorial conditions that allowed this article to be published on your website,

2) the removal of Satoshi Kanazawa as a contributor to your website, magazine, and any other Psychology Today publications based on his history of discredited research and repeatedly submitting racially biased articles to Psychology Today, including this most recent disturbing article that your editors chose to abruptly scrub from your website,

3) and the development of more thoughtful and sophisticated strategies for identifying how racism, sexism, homophobia/transphobia, and other oppressions and biases shape any so-called “objective” scientific inquiries, methodologies, and findings that your contributors examine in your publications.  These strategies should be communicated to the public in an effort to be more transparent about how you are disrupting bias in your reporting.

I honestly don’t know what it will take to get Psychology Today to kick this moron to the curb. Can you imagine being the editor of that magazine and getting almost 30,000 emails like this? I am hoping that we keep up the pressure, and he exits, stage far right, ASAP. If you’d like to help out, and you haven’t signed my petition or the much bigger one, please do!

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From the World Socialist Website

The Japanese earthquake, tsunami and nuclear power plant problems have collectively pushed our American news a bit out of the way. But activist things are happening: good things, for the most part. Let’s take a look, shall we?

In Widdershin news, I’ve updated the Toxic Meme Reference Guide. As you can see, you all contributed quite a lot to this one, and we thank you so much for your contributions! Please let us know in comments if you have more to add. Also, I have updated the blog at the top with the Charity Navigator site in case you would like some ideas about how to give to the Japanese people. (H/t to Fredster for the suggestion.)

Thanks to this petition, the New York Times taken the half-step of issuing a non-apology for this March 8th article which offensively reported on the gang-rape of an 11-year-old child. The article was extremely slanted towards blaming the child for “dressing older than her age” and “wearing makeup,” and somehow failed to find any quotes or statements that condemned the (at least 18) adult rapists for their heinous actions. As of this moment, the author, James C. McKinley, Jr.,  has not yet been fired. If you haven’t signed this petition, please do.

The Wisconsin unions are still fighting back. Thanks to the actions of the Democratic Secretary of State, they still have some time before the anti-collective bargaining provision of Governor Walker’s bill becomes law, and any deals struck before that law goes into effect will be kept in place afterwards. Let the wheeling and dealing begin!

The Madison school board met in a marathon 18-hour session Friday night to reach an agreement with the local teachers union to approve a new contract that runs through mid-2013.

That agreement freezes wages and requires the same pension contribution as state workers will be required to pay starting later this month under the new law. It also allows the district to require health insurance premium contributions up to 5 percent in the first year of the deal and up to 10 percent in the second year.

The Racine school district voted to approve a new contract with its teachers union on Wednesday evening, as Walker’s collective bargaining proposal was being approved by the state Senate. Several local governments, including the city of Janesville and La Crosse County, also have pushed through contracts in the past month ahead of the new law.

A handful of counties have reached deals with local unions statewide, said John Rhineman, legislative director of the Wisconsin Counties Association.

Rhineman said county boards want to reach deals in advance of the law taking effect because they want to work together with their employees who, in some cases, are seeking contracts more generous than what would be required under the new law.

“Our people do care about their employees,” Rhineman said. “Some of them feel the bill has gone further than they would choose to go.”

The next front in the war on union-busters and privatization in Wisconsin , is the recall effort. Eight Republican Senators are eligible for recall, and the state Democratic Party has collected nearly one meeeeeelllion dollars for that purpose. We’re staying tuned and keeping an eye out for progress on this exciting story.

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MadamaB Explains It All

Beaucoup de feminist news this week, all. I will try to do it justice, although it won’t be Shakespeare!

First on many minds is the brutal rape and beating of journalist Lara Logan, which has shaken so many of us to the core. I hope you have all read Sky Dancing on this topic, here and here. I don’t have too much to add to those excellent posts, but I must say that I think that it is ludicrous to talk about the violence as though Ms. Logan’s being in Egypt had nothing to do with it. Why are Egyptians so politically protected when it comes to their heinous policies towards women? If what happened to Logan had happened anywhere else – say, in America – we would surely be discussing how shameful it is that our country still permits this type of gender-based violence. For example, when Gabrielle Giffords was shot and the other victims killed or wounded, America’s gun-lovin’ culture was dissected to the nth degree. Why can’t we do the same to Egypt?

Remember when, in Obama’s Cairo speech, he gave women’s rights the most feeble and poisonous hat tip I’ve heard from a Democratic President?

Moreover, freedom in America is indivisible from the freedom to practice one’s religion.  That is why there is a mosque in every state in our union, and over 1,200 mosques within our borders.  That’s why the United States government has gone to court to protect the right of women and girls to wear the hijab and to punish those who would deny it.  (Applause.)

That was the only time Obama mentioned women’s rights in his speech, and all he talked about was their right to participate in their own oppression. Sadly, the President lacked the courage (or the desire) to state the truth about what women really go through in Egypt. For example, this article explains the Egyptians’ “ancient” attitudes towards rape. Although the title is hopeful, it’s difficult to see why:

The statistics

Hend [an 11-year-old girl who later became pregnant] is one of 20,000 women or girls raped every year, according to Egypt’s Interior Ministry, a figure which implies that an average of about 55 women are raped every day. However, owing to the fear of social disgrace, victims are reluctant to report cases, and experts say the number may be much higher.

“If the Ministry of the Interior gets 20,000 then you should multiply it by 10,” said Engy Ghozlan of the Egyptian Centre for Women’s Rights (ECWR) anti-harassment campaign. It’s hard to tell [exactly how many women are raped] because there aren’t a lot of statistics. Most people won’t come out and say it happened because culturally it is not accepted.”

Rape statistics are notoriously problematic, partly because there is no precise, universally agreed definition of the crime of rape. In Egypt, for example, spousal rape is not illegal. “The law prohibits non-spousal rape and punishment ranges from three years to life imprisonment; however, spousal rape is not illegal,” says a US State Department country report for Egypt dated March 2006.

To say nothing of honor killings, in which (of course) the raped woman is killed for her “lack of honor.” After all, the “bitch wanted it,” right?

Rape is also a problem within many families. This is especially so in more traditional parts of Egypt, Rania said, where “honour killings” may take place to redeem the family of the rape victim. In some areas of southern Egypt, the perpetrator is often a family member, perhaps an uncle, and blame is often shifted to the victim, she said.

“There are problems of honour. Sometimes a brother or cousin may kill her, saying ‘you wanted this, you encouraged this, you’re not honourable, and what is that you are wearing’?… Of course it’s not her fault, but who are you going to tell that to? The girl or society?”

“Honour crimes” are not technically illegal in Egypt, according to the US country report for Egypt mentioned above.

Lest you think that the article above is no longer relevant because it’s from 2008, the website Stop Honour Killings has a story from September of 2010, in which the claim is made that honor killings are on the rise in Egypt

I’m no politician or pundit, but I sincerely believe that it is impossible to discuss what happened to Lara Logan honestly without giving the context in which it happened. If that is “racist,” then please remember that I am also “prejudiced” against male (and female) fundiegelicals of all skin colors who want to take my civil rights away. Man, I just don’t like anyone, do I?

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