The latest on President Obama, the new administration and other news from Washington and around the nation.
Thursday, January 29, 2009
Wednesday, January 28, 2009
If you are sick of coal mines and coal plants, come participate in a mass civil disobedience at the coal-fired Capitol Power Plant in Washington, DC.
Saturday, January 24, 2009
One woman dies every minute of every day due to pregnancy-related causes, including unsafe abortion, and over 200 million women in developing countries who wish to delay or end childbearing lack access to modern contraceptives.In the spirit of health and freedom, please join Planned Parenthood in thanking President Obama for acting on behalf of choice, and allowing US aid to international organizations that provide abortion and reproductive information.
Say "thanks" here.
President Obama repealed rules on Friday that restricted federal money for international organizations that promote or provide abortions overseas, sweeping aside a pillar of the social policy architecture of George W. Bush's presidency.
The executive order that Mr. Obama signed reverses one of the first measures enacted by Mr. Bush when he took over the White House eight years ago and capped an opening-week flurry of action intended to signal a sharp break from the past in domestic and foreign arenas.
“For the past eight years, they have undermined efforts to promote safe and effective voluntary family planning in developing countries,” Mr. Obama said of the restrictions. “For these reasons, it is right for us to rescind this policy and restore critical efforts to protect and empower women and promote global economic development.” (full article)
Friday, January 23, 2009
Thursday, January 22, 2009
The Ledbetter Act, which was blocked in the Republican-led Senate last year, will essentially reverse the 2007 Supreme Court decision that required workers to file charges on a pay discrimination claim within six months after receiving their first discriminatory paycheck. The Court's decision in Ledbetter v. Goodyear Tire and Rubber, which reversed the jury's compensation award to Ledbetter, essentially gave employers the go-ahead to discriminate in pay, as long as they weren't caught in the first six months after the onset of their illegal actions.
Earlier this month the House passed the Ledbetter Act with a companion bill, the Paycheck Fairness Act, which would close loopholes that allow employers to pay men and women discriminatorily and provides consequences for that discrimination. The Senate today acted only on the Ledbetter Act, so work on passage of the companion bill begins tomorrow.
- Ordered Guantánamo Bay shut down
- Banned torture
- Ordered a full review of U.S. detention policies and procedures, and
- Delayed the trial of Ali al-Marri, an ACLU client whose case is at the center of the Supreme Court’s review of indefinite detention policies. (ACLU email update
Tuesday, January 20, 2009
Although I have not forgiven him for Warren...
Friday, January 16, 2009
Thursday, January 15, 2009
I agree that there is merit in abstaining from using such nouns exclusively as insults and therefore asserting that the possession of such a part is in and of itself devaluing. However, this by no means should require that women give up words that slip so easily off the tongue and have such a useful place in everyday vernacular. Just as queer has been reclaimed, so too should the cunt, etc.
Despite the artificial and varying nature of social constructions, it is undeniable that having a vagina has shaped my experience as a human being, as well as the women around me. I therefore find it wholly appropriate that I may reference it as I please, and give it meaning beyond however it is that mainstream heteronormative males demean women by referring to them as orifices, and other men by calling them women.
I did have an awkward moment that I had to self-talk my way out of. I was at school and the cup, just like tampons, needs to be tended to throughout the day. Admittedly, I was embarrassed to have to wash it out in a public bathroom. Mortified actually. But then I thought about. I think other women should be embarrassed of how wasteful they are with their menstrual products. I shouldn't feel uncomfortable because I put the earth before more conventional social practices. Booya.
Wednesday, January 14, 2009
The product has the same formula as Allergan’s eye drops for glaucoma, called Lumigan. It is one of several drugs in a category known as prostaglandin analogs, which are meant to reduce dangerous pressure in the eyeball. But as a side effect, the treatment tends to make the eyelashes of many patients longer and fuller.
Some medical experts say they worry that cosmetic customers may occasionally experience some of the glaucoma drug’s other side effects, which can include red, itchy eyes and changes in eyelid pigmentation. Some financial analysts, meanwhile, wonder how many people will want to spend $120 for a monthly dose of lash-lengthening Latisse.
But other analysts predict that in a world where people spend about $5 billion a year on mascara, Latisse could be the biggest thing to hit cosmetic medicine since, well, Botox. Sales for the cosmetic use of Botox were $600 million in 2007.
SHARON, Pa. - The U.S. Supreme Court won't hear the case of a western Pennsylvania man who served as a guard at Nazi concentration camps.
Lower courts have ruled that 84-year-old Anton Geiser obtained his U.S. citizenship illegally. The Supreme Court posted a docket entry Monday saying it would not hear Geiser's appeal.
Both sides agree that Geiser only guarded the peremiter of the camps. The courts have ruled that doing so is enough to make someone ineligible for U.S. citizenship.
The next step is for the Justice Department to file papers in immigration court seeking Geiser's deportation.
Geiser was born in Yugoslavia, in an area that's now part of Croatia. He lives in Sharon, about 60 miles north-northwest of Pittsburgh. (philly.com)
Monday, January 12, 2009
According to the Canadian Press:
Check out the full article.
Canadian mining regulations come under the scrutiny of the United States Supreme Court on Monday as environmentalists from both countries try to prevent American miners from depositing tailings in an Alaskan lake.
"Canada is a cautionary tale," said Catherine Coumans of Ottawa-based MiningWatch, who helped write the brief to be presented in a hearing in Washington, D.C.
"What I'm hoping is that the Americans won't make the same mistake we've made."
The court is preparing to rule on the legality of allowing tailings from Alaska's Kensington gold mine to be dumped into nearby Slate Lake. It's the first such permit to be issued in the U.S. under mining regulatory changes made in 2002.
Saturday, January 10, 2009
I am going to give it a go and report back on my thoughts.
Tuesday, January 6, 2009
I was unprepared for what I was asked next. The personal training manager, for being so overly-bulky and bulgy and unnaturally muscular, I thought would take my request for granted. Instead, he asked me "why?" I stammered a bit, admittedly confused. "I want to be healthy and strong," I insisted.
This was not enough. "Everyone has an emotional experience that makes them want to be strong. What was yours?"
I was shocked. That was rather self-aware of him. So I did what any other extremely blunt and very open person would do--I gave him a scoop of the old rocky road and truncated my own shaky past into a few sappy but truthful sentences. It was early in the morning, I had been ambushed, and was feeling the pressure of law school applications; I was not particularly prepared for a mini-therapy session. Don't tear up, don't tear up, I told myself. Perhaps I expected a callous or uneducated response--an "oh" at least. Instead, I met understanding and support. And there in that tiny personal training office, I had my first emotional exchange with a beef cake. Who knew? I was fascinated.
Now that my ambitions had been stripped to some sort of psychological hang up (but then again, isn't everything?), we dove into our first session. While the personal training I encountered in the past was more ball exercises and body weight maneuvers, if I wanted to get super strong, I was told that we would have to go "old school"--"none of that ball shit." For the first time in my life, I encountered physical strain that no yoga, ballet, kickboxing or cardio could prepare me for: repetitive and heavy lifting. After a fourth rep of assisted pull ups, I actually wanted to die, cry, vomit and fall over at once. More surprising then feelings of imminent death, however, was my ginormous trainer, who all at once assumed a culturally deemed maternal role of nurturing and support to combat my swelling tears and groans as I fought to reach the bar. Did I really pay for 36 of these in advance? This was one of the most difficult exertions of my life.
I looked at the sweating, bulky men around me (who, from a gendered perspective, disproportionately and egregiously dominate the lifting section of the gym), and I got off my high horse. Before this first experience, I (the alleged humanist, no less) would have written them off as beefy d-bags. But now I was beginning to see weight lifting as something else--an art form that, if executed properly, requires dedication, skill, and control. I developed an appreciation of isolating and flexing those esoteric back muscles. I understood the rewarding feeling that comes from getting something right, and getting through a hard set. Then it began to sink in. The stigma of the "beef cake" is extremely stereotypical, disenfranchising, and ignorant of the reality of weight lifting. I felt a little guilty. Shouldn't I have learned this lesson from the social stigma that casts eating disorder victims as stupid and shallow? There is much more going on here.
So I began to observe and nonchalantly interview. I have to say, my own initial stereotype of the emotionally primitive "hyper-masculine" douche was soon dismissed by warmth, fun, and conversations around the gym. The more I probed, the more I realized that themes of control, perfectionism, discipline, self-improvement, escapism and physical proportionality that accompanied the body building experience mirrored the same themes that plague victims of anorexia and bulimia. While lifting can be social in that a group of people--likely men--will meet and work together, it can also be very isolating. One interviewee revealed that he lifts alone because no one is as dedicated as he is. Similarly, eating disorder victims--likely girls and women--can restrict, purge, or exercise in groups for support...or they can completely withdraw and go at it alone.
In discussing the perceived "mismatch" of his body, my trainer explained how his naturally larger legs always seemed too big for his body, and so the pursuit of matching drove his upper-body lifting experience. My mind went back to the testimony of an anorectic friend, who explained her stomach was just too big for her legs and arms.
I am not trying to say that body building is the same as an eating disorder. Clearly, eating disorders are far more serious and deadly at that. Body building at its most extreme and obsessive form, accompanied by steroid use, begins to compete in terms of danger. However, it is quite striking to note how aspirations of rigidity, control, perfectionism and addictive/compulsive behavior--not to mention certain psychological contexts and emotional experiences--are mediated through culture and gendered relations of power, and largely find themselves regulating male and female bodies in different (and opposite) ways.
Saturday, January 3, 2009
"the invisible yet toxic brew of gases and particles clinging to smokers’ hair and clothing, not to mention cushions and carpeting, that lingers long after smoke has cleared from a room. The residue includes heavy metals, carcinogens and even radioactive materials that young children can get on their hands and ingest, especially if they’re crawling or playing on the floor."Read the full article
Thursday, January 1, 2009
(Considering that the Keeper Moon Cup has been so helpful, let me clarify and say the only reason that I had originally blogged about this topic using the DivaCup is simply because it is available at Whole Foods and was the first to be in front of my face--not because of any differences in quality.)