semiotic_pirate: (speak your mind)
As noted in the subject line, both the OP and my reply may be triggering. Specifically to victims of abuse (all kinds.)

I was reading through my friend feed and came upon this journal entry by [ profile] theferrett

This was my reply: )
semiotic_pirate: (eyeball)
Yeah. So I am discovering that this is a THING.

My workplace, that will not be named, touts itself as "family friendly" and pats itself on the back when it talks about "flexible hours" and even makes a point to let you know that they have a network set up so that you can work from home when needed.

WELL. Needless to say, and you can certainly tell when you've already been clued in by the subject line of this post, this DOES NOT APPLY to people without children.

Come run around with me & the other Unicorns in the forest. )
semiotic_pirate: (sewn-shut mouth)
So the other day we had the first of my Company's version of a Town Hall Meeting using the latest in videoconferencing technology to connect about fifteen locations and a variety of people working from home or on the road. Most of the various offices have round tables or one of those sets of rectangular tables that are set up to be a square with an empty space in the middle. The home office, where I have my little office space, had a room set up where the CEO would make the kick-off speech and another, larger room generally used for training classes.

The stage is set.

At the end of the whole thing, my manager looks around and says "How did it end up that all the women ended up seated in the back rows and all the men are up in the front rows?" Now. The strange thing is that I was one of the first people in the room and knew how this happened. Most of the women arrived to the meeting first and self-selected the back row seats. To me, as this was my reasoning, was because these seats were the furthest away from the giant camera at the front of the room and I wanted to be out of the way if anything stupid happened. As the men started to come into the room they discovered that the only seats left for them were the ones toward the front of the room and closest to the camera. To me it didn't seem like something that was done a purpose to exclude or diminish the women in the room or their standing in the company... But sure as hell, how must it have seemed to all of us when it was pointed out like that?

It was the big pink elephant in the room. There was some murmuring but it was mostly just passed off and everyone went out to the cafe to grab the free lunch that had been set up courtesy of the company. Team building meal sharing and chatter followed. People weren't seated around the little cafe tables by gender, but there was a bit of hierarchical splitting as peers and coworkers are want to do.
semiotic_pirate: (spock - sighing)
Many thanks to [ profile] sparkindarkness for the wonderfully uncomfortable dream I had just before waking. It had a lot of elements that brought to mind a post of his that I read yesterday about privilege and marginalization events experienced by a variety of people.

The dream:

We're in a gas station (the kind with a convenience store) at night. All but one of the pumps is full. My husband pulls into the empty one, but realizes the only trash can is away from the pumps. He drives over there to get rid of his trash, then proceeds to back-up to return to the pump (it makes sense b/c the open pump is on our side of the lot with backing in being the only option for where his gas tank opening is). When he is just about to pull in, he is cut off by this huge, old Ford/Chevy truck that is jacked up slightly - a "mudding" kind of vehicle with faded paint or reminiscent of a well used farmer's vehicle. This truck flies into the spot, while the driver is yelling at my husband for being in the way. The driver of the truck, and his companions that fill it would fit descriptions of Midwestern red-neck and/or farmer.

Somehow, in dream mode, I am outside the car talking to the largest of the passengers. He seems articulate and sensitive and we talk about what a horrible situation it was and he apologized for his friend.

I next found myself walking toward a convenience store and an Indian couple race past me... The man carrying his five-ish son under the armpits, keeping his feet off the ground so he could move faster. The woman following, and seeming to fall further behind with each quick step, while pushing an ungainly stroller toward a sidewalk and maneuvering said stroller, with difficulty, over the 6-8 inch high edge-stone of the sidewalk. As she got the stroller over the edge, her husband had disappeared around the corner of the store. (Why the store had a sidewalk around it I don't know. I think I've been to a couple like that where they use the sidewalk as a parking barrier to the storefront so people can approach on foot as well.)

As the woman is passing me, we are stepping up onto the curb together, I sense the husband's panic and her unease and understand that it is based upon the arrival of the loud & potentially dangerous driver that may or may not be a racist red-neck... Not sure whether I had talked to the woman about it, but knew this was the cause of her unease. I made a comment, where I implied a "those people" type of disparagement of the man/men of the truck... And as she made her getaway she looked behind me and her eyes widened in fear as she picked up speed, approaching the corner.

Uneasy myself, now, I look behind me at the steps that appeared in front of me and, as I swung one of the glass doors open to enter the store I looked behind me. Just getting to the curb was the man I'd talked to with another from the vehicle. Their heads were down and leaning toward each other in conversation. I didn't think they had been close enough to hear my comment to the woman, but I felt my face flush in shame all the same and rushed into the store.

I was in there to get a particular kind of soda (orange flavored seltzer or tonic water), found out somehow that I had to go out in the storage area in the back of the store to get the kind I wanted. Was back there with shelves to either side, unfinished wooden shelves, and, upon being asked, the stock boy hands me this very large and unwieldy flat of six-packs... I'm staggering around down the aisle trying to figure out a way to turn around to get back out to the parking lot when I find myself in that same aisle and place in the stockroom. There, I encounter a young woman and, realizing my plight, helps me break apart the flat; whereupon I say to her that I had just wanted one six-pack after all and move off back to the front of the store.

Bizarre dream. One definitely brought on by my brain trying to process through a combination of things but when I woke I thought to myself that it was probably highly inspired by sparky's post. It isn't his most recent. I had seen it a few days ago and had left it up in a window for later perusal and reading. That man is one smart cookie. If you go looking for it, it's the one where it is described how some people talk about their difficulties with strollers and use this in a conversation as a compared-difficulty when having a conversation with someone in a wheelchair while they are describing their difficulties in wheelchairs.

Please. Feel free to dissect and analyze the dream sequence above. Comment on my internal conflicts and issues. I mean, after all... How often do yo get a chance these days to comment on one of my posts?
semiotic_pirate: (Default)
Luc Besson said, “This is a man (Polanski) who I love a lot and know a little bit. Our daughters are good friends. But there is one justice, and that should be the same for everyone. I will let justice happen… I don’t have any opinion on this, but I have a daughter, 13 years old. And if she was violated, nothing would be the same, even 30 years later.”

One justice. For all.
semiotic_pirate: (sewn-shut mouth)
My Vie en Rose made me cry so much.

I empathized with Ludo so much. So much pain in not being accepted for who you are, or not respected for decisions you've made about your life or how you want to lead your life.

After the movie ended, CoB and I talked a little bit about child sex-reassignment and how the growing trend is to let the child decide - this being especially true in those children born as hermaphrodites. How is the parent to know, and what gives them the right to choose one when the child (when grown old enough to understand the concept of boy/girl) should be the one to choose?

I'm only hoping that I read the ending correctly and that his/her family is finally accepting her/him for who he/she wants to be.

According to this:

"Ma Vie en Rose" ("My Life In Pink") is the story of Ludovic, a little girl born in a little boy's body. For him, nothing is more natural than to change his gender. As a hopeful and sensitive child, he truly believes that a miracle is going to happen. He will be a girl, no doubt about it, and he's in love with Jerome, his school mate, and son of his father's colleague. Initially a source of amusement, an outrage begins in their suburb when the two boys are discovered pretending to get married. The family begins to realize with horror that his desire to be a girl isn't just a little boy's fantasy. They try to make him change his mind, to no avail. The situation turns into a real-life drama of intense reactions from neighbors, friends, and teachers, resulting in a profoundly optimistic ending.

I read the ending correctly.

Edit: Wonderful website - Why is Ma Vie En Rose Rated R? Has a bunch of insightful things to say about the MPAA (disparaging) and good, thoughtful things to say about the movie. Very well put together. I like how, at the bottom of the page, they say that they are blocked by CyberPatrol... Yeah.


Oct. 15th, 2008 07:52 pm
semiotic_pirate: (speak your mind)
A quote of a quote from a live-journal that shall remain nameless out of respect for [ profile] ginmar because, although I wish to comment on this, I don't want to garner this nameless user more attention.

“When a female determines she is pregnant, she has the freedom to decide if she has the maturity level to undertake the responsibilities of motherhood, if she is financially able to support a child, if she is at a place in her career to take the time to have a child, or if she has other concerns precluding her from carrying the child to term. After weighing her options, the female may choose abortion. Once she aborts the fetus, the female's interests in and obligations to the child are terminated. In stark contrast, the unwed father has no options. His responsibilities to the child begin at conception and can only be terminated with the female's decision to abort the fetus or with the mother's decision to give the child up for adoption. Thus, he must rely on the decisions of the female to determine his future. The putative father does not have the luxury, after the fact of conception, to decide that he is not ready for fatherhood. Unlike the female, he has no escape route”.

This was found in a commentary on "female privilege" which was quite, quite misguided. Most of the list and commentary actually appeared to be coming from a recently divorced man who maybe liked to beat on his now-ex-wife. Yeah. I love, also, how the quoted text above calls the woman a female, in the way a scientist studying animal behavior would, especially when she deigns not to become "humanized" by becoming a mother. Whereas the man is referred immediately as a father, and one which is to immediately also to be seen as a helpless victim.

What about the decision to... Hrm... not have procreative sex? Seriously. If this pregnancy occurs outside of a relationship that, between the two parties, has decided that if a pregnancy were to occur what they would do about that pregnancy (to welcome it or not) then it is indeed the woman's choice. Because outside of those circumstances, the man is making no promises, and the woman is not looking for any, of the joint responsibility of child rearing. Hence, therefore, the decision would be the woman's. Yes. That is me saying that if a man allows his sperm to leave his body into that of a woman without having provided a pregnancy-friendly agreement with said woman then he has no right to say what occurs to that sperm once it does leave his body. That includes her choosing to continue with said pregnancy and expecting help or refusing help - it is her choice.

Any arguments otherwise?
semiotic_pirate: (piggy bank on FIRE!)
Kiplinger: "If you are sitting on a lot of cash… or your firm, nonprofit or agency is… Note this CD product touting federal insurance coverage up to $50 million: CDARS, or Certificate of Deposit Account Registry Service. Members in a network of over 2000 banks take a slice of your deposit… no more than $100,000 each. Promontory Interfinancial Network charges banks a fee to join and on transactions. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. says deposits are likely covered. But the program, which began in 2003, hasn't yet been tested by a bank failure."

This was in an Aug. 8, 2008 edition. CoB can attest to the fact that I had wondered if depositing sums of no more than $100,000 in multiple banks would be covered by the FDIC insurance. Whether this would count, in each case, as being that "up to $100,000 insured" allowance. You always wonder when you look back and see yourself speculating out loud about something like this, if it went from your mouth to someone else's ear and was then eventually implemented by someone overhearing it in conversation elsewhere. Or if it was a case of parallel evolution of an idea. You can never be sure. The important thing is - this is a way for rich folk to stay rich, even in the face of bank runs and failures.


Also from Kiplinger: "Women are wearing longer skirts, so we must be in a recession… right? At least that's one theory, which holds that skirt lengths and markets move in tandem. Hemlines rose in the Roaring '20s, when times were good, then fell in the Depression. Miniskirts were the rage in the '60s boom years. Now… bohemian-style long skirts popular in the late '70s are coming back. That period was also known for high oil prices, sagging stocks and inflation. Sound familiar? Of course, many dismiss the notion. And today, women have more options in fashion. They're apt to wear pants… at all lengths… as worry over skirt lengths. What counts is what's spent on women's clothes, which make up two-thirds of the $160 billion adult market. If women don't keep buying, the economy suffers."

This springtime article has a caveat: "Back in the '50s, there was a phenomenon called the hemline indicator that linked skirt lengths to the stock market. High hems supposedly signified high times and low ones the opposite. That analogy has long since been disproved, and hemlines have moved up and down the leg for many years, with no apparent link to Wall Street."

But this article's title: "This summer's look, share plunge hems - If only the City boys had taken one eye off the stock markets and cast it over the catwalk, they might have seen what was coming" brings new life to the myth of hemline causality in June. Also mentioned is the rise of a "more demure look" with economic downturn. Or, to quote: "The more demure look comes in vogue in times of economic restraint."

Some fashion writer (and stylist) went on to say, "If you think about it, the link between hemlines and the economy makes total sense. In leaner times, people don't feel so confident about flashing their cash around and dressing in a showy way, and so they tend to opt for a more demure, understated look that reveals less flesh. Just about the only women who are still baring all at the moment are the super-rich Russians, but their economy is still booming and the credit crunch isn't really an issue for them."

Is there any proof of this BEFORE the roaring 1920's, any kind of fashion trend linked to economics highs and lows... What? Necklines? Are there any economic/fashion historians out there who have completed an intelligently designed (not "intelligent design" or offhand comment) study that shows more than an assumption of correlation?

*angry sigh*
semiotic_pirate: (sewn-shut mouth)
After watching the dark comedy Burn After Reading, I come home to find this posted on one of the communities I read:

semiotic_pirate: (Pirate Grrl - RIOT)
Read this on the day it came out and have been meaning to post it. RAWR! This type of bullshit really pisses me off. How can you accept a job when you can't do the job or a portion of the job? It isn't like a disability that can be accommodated... it is a personal preference. If people are hired on false pretenses? Get rid of their asses. If their preferences have changed over time, they should be moved to a position (if possible and that position exists) that will not have this conflict arise.

Reminds me of my Mum, who accepted a job as a receptionist (or secretary or something) with the Air Force (or some military associated company) where she said she would accept the job if she wasn't involved in the weapons side of the business. When she found herself transcribing/typing stuff that had to do with missiles... she quit, after having a talk with her superior and being told to just do her job. I definitely think that she was naive to believe that she could work for a "war monger" type of employer and NOT be involved with the mongering...

Religious freedom, in my mind - and feel free to correct me if I'm wrong - is the freedom to believe in what you want and to worship in the way you want as long as no other is harmed in the process. Is that caveat not true? Is one group allowed, or going to be allowed, to oppress another because their organized beliefs are more important? Is a society doing well when this kind of imbalance allowed to occur?

How PC is anti-discrimination becoming? Twisting the original intent so that special, privileged groups can use anti-discrimination for their own ends is not something we should just lay down and accept.


Bush Proposal Stirs Birth Control Debate
Washington Post
July 31, 2008


A Bush administration proposal aimed at protecting health care workers who object to abortion and birth control methods they consider tantamount to abortion has escalated a bitter debate.

At issue is the balance between religious freedom and patients' rights.

The Health and Human Services Department is reviewing a draft regulation that would deny federal funding to medical centers that don't allow employees to opt out of participating in care that runs counter to their personal convictions, including providing birth control pills, IUDs and the Plan B emergency contraceptive.

Conservative groups, abortion opponents and some members of Congress are welcoming the initiative as necessary to safeguard doctors, nurses and other health workers who, they say, are increasingly facing discrimination because of their beliefs or are being coerced into delivering services they find repugnant.

But the draft proposal has sparked intense criticism by family planning advocates, women's health activists and members of Congress who say the regulation would create overwhelming obstacles for women seeking abortions and birth control.

There is also deep concern that the rule could have far-reaching, but less obvious, implications. Because of its wide scope and because it would — apparently for the first time — define abortion in a federal regulation as anything that affects a fertilized egg, the regulation could raise questions about a broad spectrum of scientific research and care, critics say.

The expanded definition of abortion would include most forms of hormonal birth control and the IUD.

Most major medical groups believe such practices do not constitute abortion because they primarily affect ovulation or fertilization and not an embryo once it has implanted in the womb.

"The breadth of this is potentially immense," said Robyn S. Shapiro, a bioethicist and lawyer at the Medical College of Wisconsin. "Is this going to result in a kind of blessed censorship of a whole host of areas of medical care and research?"

The proposal is outlined in a 39-page draft regulation that has been circulated among several HHS agencies. The FDA has not objected, but several officials at the National Institutes of Health said that the agency had expressed serious concerns.

"This is causing a lot of distress," said one NIH researcher. "It's a redefinition of abortion that does not match any of the current medical definitions. It's ideologically based and not based on science and could interfere with the development of many new therapies to treat diseases."

HHS defended its actions in a statement, saying it was "exploring a number of options" as a part of its duty to enforce anti-discrimination laws protecting medical workers.

What do YOU think?

Enjoy your collective weekends.
semiotic_pirate: (OH NOZ!)
A while back, I tried to read this book The Mommy Myth, but got so angry with the revealed deceptions that I have yet to finish it. Someday...

Supporting evidence of neither sex being easily able to beat the ticking clock is being revealed daily.

Men have the ticking biological clock as well. After 35, there is lowered fertility. After 45, it gets even worse.

Women with already low fertility (read, any female over 35, right?) can cut their chances of conceiving by an additional 26% if they drink four or more cups of coffee a day.

As someone who currently has no plans to conceive any time in the future, this doesn't really affect me, but it is an interesting trend to follow.
semiotic_pirate: (speak your mind)
First, I would like to start out saying that I have finally gotten the chance to start reading the news again in earnest. So far, all of the articles that I'll be either posting below or linking to are from the New York Times. They publish a lot of the stuff that I consider thought provoking even though I know I must keep in mind the fact that depending one source of news can lead to a myopic view of the world.

That said, let us get on to the articles, commentaries, and (hopefully) conversations.


My favorite part of the following article is the bit about 401K plans and the importance of employer matching contributions. Calling those contributions "in effect, an instant 50 or 100 percent “return” on your savings" and "Consider this an optional raise. Turning it down would be a real shame. Nor will it cost you as much as you think. Saving 3 percent out of an annual salary of $36,000 amounts to roughly $20 a week." which made me go make a calculation: $2,750. Nice. I am surprised that he didn't mention the possibility of more of the benefits package premiums being taken out pre-tax. It made me appreciate even more what I know to be a very well set-up and extremely generous benefits package. As Crush would say: Righteous!

June 14, 2008
Your Money
A Primer for Young People Starting Their First Job

To the hundreds of thousands of young people who have landed entry-level jobs that come with health insurance and a retirement plan, I offer my congratulations. Things are tough out there right now, so you must be doing something right.

To the employers who are about to put them to work, however, I urge you to take another look at the pile of employee manuals that detail all your fabulous benefits. They’re boring. They’re confusing. And they start in the middle instead of defining things from the beginning.
Read more... )

This also makes me very thankful that life has turned out the way it has and that I came out of college as a "returning adult student" who has a completely different situation than the typical graduate. I have CoB - that is the most important of the differences (he's my rock) - and I already have a wealth of experience in the "Work Force" (as the Pitt of Hell would call it).

Another resource that I think might've been a good addition to the article would have been a link to the Motley Fool personal investment and retirement sections.

On another note - which may also be applicable to recent graduates - is this amazing, and very long article about the concept of "shared-care-parenting" where the model for relationships and parenting styles morphs into a form where the couple "would create their own model, one in which they were parenting partners. Equals and peers. They would work equal hours, spend equal time with their children, take equal responsibility for their home. Neither would be the keeper of the mental to-do lists; neither of their careers would take precedence." This is IMHO one of the primary reasons that the women's movement was created. In actuality, this whole situation seems to epitomize the ideals that the women's movement was founded on. The only caveat is that the article (I am assuming, I haven't read it in its entirety yet) doesn't address those couples (regardless of gender or sex, pairings or groupings) who decide not to have children but who also embrace the relationship of equals standard.

This is an article that I had mentioned to a coworker the other day (oooh, I love being able to say that) after being told that the company considers annual leave a mandatory event. They must have done their own research, or just used common sense. Just like the reason they based their decision on getting the dual monitor set up for their credit analysts, it results in an increase in productivity and happiness in the workplace environment. So here's to increasing evidence of the importance of the "respite effect" - which does not involve butterflies causing tornadoes, hurricanes, or any other form of natural disaster.

June 7, 2008

Vacations Are Good for You, Medically Speaking
Read more... )vacations are not simply a luxury. There is increasing evidence that they really are necessary for good health.
Read more... )


This article got me to thinking just how scary, end of the world like scary, a McCain presidency could be. It also made me think of the need for a change in POW training. You could be given two options as to how you would act in the situation: 1) Name, rank, serial number, silence. Refusal to cooperate. Stoic. and 2) Cooperate in some ways and covertly gather information so that when you are released you can then brief your superiors about what you learned. and finally, an option only the masochistic will choose 3) Bitterly resist and taunt your captors so that you are tortured night to death, hoping that while you are enduring this crap you are increasing the morale of the men and women who have to hear you scream through the night during those "sessions" with the torturer.

I have listened to many stories and watched many television shows and movies about different POW situations, and I say the above with the utmost respect to any who have had to endure a brutal hostage situation. We can not all be John McClain's nor should we be expected to. And I think McCain's 'veiled' hints of brainwashing as training rather than teaching different methods according to disposition is appalling. I'm not surprised that many parents across the nation are considering the different ways they can get their children out of the country to safety if another draft is initiated. Hell, and those adults, too, who are now affected by the increased age limit that was slipped in a while back. *Nods to CoB* (If this article becomes unavailable, I do have it saved as a PDF.)

That article has direct bearing on the two Op-Ed article that I found at the same time. One is about the rumors being spread by the neocon talking heads concerning Senator Clinton's supporter being bitter, angry bitches and taking a stereotypical self-defeating revenge upon the Senator Obama candidacy by planning on voting for McCain... The other is an article detailing how by electing Senator Obama, we as women would be making strides toward gender equality. Because he refuses to conform (or contort) himself into an image of the macho-manly-man stereotype in order to be seen as electable.

June 15, 2008
Op-Ed Columnist

Angry Clinton Women ♥ McCain?

TEN years ago John McCain had to apologize for regaling a Republican audience with a crude sexual joke about Hillary and Chelsea Clinton and Janet Reno. Last year he had to explain why he didn’t so much as flinch when a supporter asked him on camera, “How do we beat the bitch?” But these days Mr. McCain just loves the women.
Read more... )


June 15, 2008
Op-Ed Contributor

Think the Gender War Is Over? Think Again

San Francisco

FOR months, our political punditry foresaw one, and only one, prospective gender contest looming in the general election: between the first serious female presidential candidate and the Republican male “warrior.” But those who were dreading a plebiscite on sexual politics shouldn’t celebrate just yet. Hillary Clinton may be out of the race, but a Barack Obama versus John McCain match-up still has the makings of an epic American gender showdown.

The reason is a gender ethic that has guided American politics since the age of Andrew Jackson. The sentiment was succinctly expressed in a massive marble statue that stood on the steps of the United States Capitol from 1853 to 1958. Named “The Rescue,” but more commonly known as “Daniel Boone Protects His Family,” the monument featured a gigantic white pioneer in a buckskin coat holding a nearly naked Indian in a death’s grip, while off to the side a frail white woman crouched over her infant.

The question asked by this American Sphinx to all who dared enter the halls of leadership was, “Are you man enough?” This year, Senator Obama has notably refused to give the traditional answer.

The particulars of that masculine myth were established early in American politics. Read more... )

Progress is measured in small steps not big leaps. And another measure of progress for humanity (notice I did not say women, because the shaping of our society is made up by all members of our species) is the story of how rape is slowly becoming a more important issue on the global stage than pirated DVDs. At least for some of us... Finally.

Warning - content may be triggering.

June 15, 2008
Op-Ed Columnist

The Weapon of Rape

World leaders fight terrorism all the time, with summit meetings and sound bites and security initiatives. But they have studiously ignored one of the most common and brutal varieties of terrorism in the world today.

This is a kind of terrorism that disproportionately targets children. It involves not W.M.D. but simply AK-47s, machetes and pointed sticks. It is mass rape — and it will be elevated, belatedly, to a spot on the international agenda this week.
Read more... )
Painfully slowly, the United Nations and its member states seem to be recognizing the fact that systematic mass rape is at least as much an international outrage as, say, pirated DVDs. Yet China and Russia are resisting any new reporting mechanism for sexual violence, seeing such rapes as tragic but simply a criminal matter.

On the contrary, systematic rape has properly been found by international tribunals to constitute a crime against humanity, and it thrives in part because the world shrugs. The U.N. could do far more to provide health services to victims of mass rape and to insist that peacekeepers at least try to stop it.
Read more... )

On a slightly lighter note (compared to the previous article): Whoever says that "Freedom Isn't Free" should take a page out of the new book internet providers are trying to write. In which they are running test programs to see how receptive people are to getting metered internet access.

“As soon as you put serious uncertainty as to cost on the table, people’s feeling of freedom to predict cost dries up and so does innovation and trying new applications,” Vint Cerf, the chief Internet evangelist for Google who is often called the “father of the Internet,” said in an e-mail message.

The companies who are proponents of the caps say that their actions are only fair and are using this as an end run on those who engage in file-sharing. Yeah. I wonder if RIAA is sponsoring any of these ideas? With all of the online content that is being pushed on consumers, there is no way any of THOSE companies will allow the ISPs to start this crap. Because it would limit people's interest and usage of the internet. Because when it comes down to brass tacks, the people who are band-width hogs are far outweighed by the people who just use the internet to check their email and browse the internet for information. Even now, with usage rates going up because of more content offering live, buffered feed of their favorite show... Well. They aren't going to offer DOWNLOADS because then they can't control their product. Sheesh. Maybe the content providers should be the one paying the ISPs for clogging the lines?

Note: I started this post at around 8 AM, took off for a Father's Day brunch, went to see the Hulk, and am now finally finishing up the final touches. It's been quite a day. So, please, talk amongst yourselves if you have to here because I may be going to bed early tonight.
semiotic_pirate: (gunbarrelgrimace)

What follows is an essay/article published in the New York Times earlier today. It contains graphic descriptions of what happened to a lot of women before the Roe vs. Wade decision. I am contemplating getting a t-shirt that just depicts a wire coat hanger.

June 3, 2008

Repairing the Damage, Before Roe

With the Supreme Court becoming more conservative, many people who support women’s right to choose an abortion fear that Roe v. Wade, the 1973 decision that gave them that right, is in danger of being swept aside.

When such fears arise, we often hear about the pre-Roe “bad old days.” Yet there are few physicians today who can relate to them from personal experience. I can.

I am a retired gynecologist, in my mid-80s. My early formal training in my specialty was spent in New York City, from 1948 to 1953, in two of the city’s large municipal hospitals.

There I saw and treated almost every complication of illegal abortion that one could conjure, done either by the patient herself or by an abortionist — often unknowing, unskilled and probably uncaring. Yet the patient never told us who did the work, or where and under what conditions it was performed. She was in dire need of our help to complete the process or, as frequently was the case, to correct what damage might have been done.

The patient also did not explain why she had attempted the abortion, and we did not ask. This was a decision she made for herself, and the reasons were hers alone. Yet this much was clear: The woman had put herself at total risk, and literally did not know whether she would live or die.

This, too, was clear: Her desperate need to terminate a pregnancy was the driving force behind the selection of any method available.

The familiar symbol of illegal abortion is the infamous “coat hanger” — which may be the symbol, but is in no way a myth. In my years in New York, several women arrived with a hanger still in place. Whoever put it in — perhaps the patient herself — found it trapped in the cervix and could not remove it.

We did not have ultrasound, CT scans or any of the now accepted radiology techniques. The woman was placed under anesthesia, and as we removed the metal piece we held our breath, because we could not tell whether the hanger had gone through the uterus into the abdominal cavity. Fortunately, in the cases I saw, it had not.

However, not simply coat hangers were used.

Almost any implement you can imagine had been and was used to start an abortion — darning needles, crochet hooks, cut-glass salt shakers, soda bottles, sometimes intact, sometimes with the top broken off.

Another method that I did not encounter, but heard about from colleagues in other hospitals, was a soap solution forced through the cervical canal with a syringe. This could cause almost immediate death if a bubble in the solution entered a blood vessel and was transported to the heart.

The worst case I saw, and one I hope no one else will ever have to face, was that of a nurse who was admitted with what looked like a partly delivered umbilical cord. Yet as soon as we examined her, we realized that what we thought was the cord was in fact part of her intestine, which had been hooked and torn by whatever implement had been used in the abortion. It took six hours of surgery to remove the infected uterus and ovaries and repair the part of the bowel that was still functional.

It is important to remember that Roe v. Wade did not mean that abortions could be performed. They have always been done, dating from ancient Greek days.

What Roe said was that ending a pregnancy could be carried out by medical personnel, in a medically accepted setting, thus conferring on women, finally, the full rights of first-class citizens — and freeing their doctors to treat them as such.

Waldo L. Fielding was an obstetrician and gynecologist in Boston for 38 years. He is the author of “Pregnancy: The Best State of the Union” (Thomas Y. Crowell, 1971).
semiotic_pirate: (sewn-shut mouth)
There are some quotes from another story in the anthology I mentioned in one of my many posts yesterday. This story is called Death and the Lady and was written by Judith Tarr.

Spoken dryly: "Women are cursed enough by nature, weak and frail as all the wise men say they are; and made, it's said, for men's use and little else. Sometimes they don't take kindly to it. It's a flaw in them, I'm sure."

I can imagine at least three characters from Firefly saying these words... Zoe and Annara definitely, at least, would speak like this. Maybe it was the dry humor it was written in, where the character doesn't expect the man she is speaking to to understand that it isn't being said seriously, with any belief in the words or sentiments. Firefly was full of that kind of chatter.

"Is that all you can do?" First woman snapped at her. "Hide and cower and whine, and make great noises about fighting back, and give in at the drop of a threat?"

"What else can I do?" Second woman snapped back.

"Think," said First woman.

Though I know it is absurd, I keep imagining female snapping turtles having this conversation. Yes. That's right. Snapping turtles. They make great, surly friends if you can find them. Some turtles are surly without being snapping turtles, species-wise.

And finally:

"There's no more can't in killing yourself than in killing someone else. It's all won't, and a good fat measure of pity-me."

Yeah. That says it all [ profile] puf_almighty. Why do people talk about killing as "giving in" to something? Because of that quote, right there. You make a choice. Whether that choice is in an acknowledged surface thought or not - a person makes a decision about these things. Which is why a person who truly knows themselves, who knows their own moral/ethical strengths and weaknesses, can see the truth for what it is and not make the excuses that are rampant in our world. Deflection or avoidance of responsibility is something that I haven't always been aware of... That kind of discernment takes time to learn, more or less depending on whether you have a proper guide or not.

Everyone has moments of weakness. The important thing is to disallow weakness in making decisions on everything, especially those decisions that wouldn't just impact your own life but the lives of those around you. The wider the impact, the more serious the repercussions, the worse off the world is when you make the wrong choice.
semiotic_pirate: (Default)
I just had myself a mini-rant over at [ profile] ginmar's journal. She links to a post over on Shakesville and talks about some guy who (as a lawyer) is shaking his finger at women and accusing them of privilege for thinking of voting for Hillary and accusing them also of (if they do vote for Hill) giving the presidency to McCain. GAH! See my rant at the first link if you want to get an eyeful of my opinion about that commenter.

In strangely related news... [ profile] villagecharm mentions (in a post appearing just after gin's on my f-list) that:

"Our friends at Snopes explain one of the most persistent customs associated with the reappearance of February 29:

Leap years, according to folk tradition, were the only times when women could could propose marriage to men, with this belief often termed "The Ladies' Privilege."

This reflects the familiar folk belief that extraordinary events require a suspension of normal customs - since an extra day in February is outside the "normal" course of that month, human affairs on that day should be similarly "abnormal."

So. Therefore. By combining event A with event B, I say that we should definitely all elect Hill as our first female president. I don't quite have the logic of the decision worked out just yet... but, intuitively, it fits.

PS: VC, if you want me to not mention where I got the idea/info on the snopes stuff let me know, as you have that post f-locked or filtered.

Oh. And then there's the math of a leap year, which I cannot help but repeat because it is a neat math related rhyme...

Leap year's here! There'll be one more / In each year that cleanly divides by four / Except for full centuries / To be leap years they must / Be cleanly divisible by 400 / Otherwise they are common years / With the standard 365 days / That's why, for example / 1900 was not a leap year / but 2000 was.

True Women

Dec. 6th, 2007 05:23 pm
semiotic_pirate: (yep yep yep)
Decided I couldn't hold this in... I got my movie choices from Netflix yesterday and have decided to watch the one I ordered exclusively for moi.


The way they took charge,, traveled, defended themselves, etc. Amazing, in the true sense of the word. And I'm only a half hour into this 180 minute trial of bravery, adventure, adversity, horror, triumph and sorrow.


In other news, the head of the English Dept. at one of my schools - upon hearing my plans to go through the ARC program - tried to both convince me and dissuade me to become an English teacher. Apparently there will be a dearth of them when the majority of English teachers in CT retire in approximately four years. This is the first hint of the baby-boomer-retirement-wave I have experienced first hand.

All in all I think that is a good thing for those of us who are "coming of age" in a way. Making the supply of labor greatly reduced will be a boon to the laborers - yes?
semiotic_pirate: (book offering)
In the process of doing my homework, I've been reading up and listening to speeches made in the past in order to become better at creating my own speeches for use in class. I was perusing the top 100 speeches in American history and specifically looked for speeches made my women. Since women have been making officially recorded for posterity speeches for a lesser amount of time than men I was not surprised to see less of them on the list. I'm hoping that someday that will be rectified.

I did, however, want to bring to your attention the following speech that was available in trascript form only. It stills seems relevant to me.

Shirley Chisholm
"For the Equal Rights Amendment"
August 10, 1970
Washington, D.C.

Mr. Speaker, House Joint Resolution 264, before us today, which provides for equality under the law for both men and women, represents one of the most clear-cut opportunities we are likely to have to declare our faith in the principles that shaped our Constitution. It provides a legal basis for attack on the most subtle, most pervasive and most institutionalized form of prejudice that exists. Discrimination against women, solely on the basis of their sex, is so widespread that it seems to many persons normal, natural and right.

Legal expression of prejudice on the grounds of religious or political belief has become a minor problem in our society. Prejudice on the basis of race is, at least, under systematic attack. There is reason for optimism that it will start to die with the present older generation. It is time we act to assure full equality of opportunity to those citizens who, although in a majority, suffer the restrictions that are commonly imposed on minorities, to women.
The argument that this amendment will not solve the problem of sex discrimination is not relevant. If the argument were used against a civil-rights bill — as it has been used in the past — the prejudice that lies behind it would be embarrassing. Of course, laws will not eliminate prejudice from the hearts of human beings. But that is not reason to allow prejudice to continue to be enshrined in our laws, to perpetuate injustice through inaction.

The amendment is necessary to clarify countless ambiguities and inconsistencies in our legal system. For instance, the Constitution guarantees due process of law, in the fifth and fourteenth amendments. But the applicability of due process of sex distinctions is not clear. Women are excluded from some state colleges and universities. In some states, restrictions are placed on a married woman who engages in an independent business. Women may not be chosen for some juries. Women even receive heavier criminal penalties than men who commit the same crime.

What would the legal effects of the equal rights amendment really be? The equal rights amendment would govern only the relationship between the state and its citizens — not relationships between private citizens.

The amendment would be largely self-executing — that is, any federal or state laws in conflict would be ineffective one year after date of ratification without further action by the Congress or state legislatures.

Opponents of the amendment claim its ratification would throw the law into a state of confusion and would result in much litigation to establish its meaning. This objection overlooks the influence of legislative history in determining intent and the recent activities of many groups preparing for legislative changes in this direction.

State labor laws applying only to women, such as those limiting hours of work and weights to be lifted, would become inoperative unless the legislature amended them to apply to men. As of early 1970 most states would have some laws that would be affected. However, changes are being made so rapidly as a result of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, it is likely that by the time the equal rights amendment would become effective, no conflicting state laws would remain.

In any event, there has for years been great controversy as to the usefulness to women of these state labor laws. There has never been any doubt that they worked a hardship on women who need or want to work overtime and on women who need or want better paying jobs, and there has been no persuasive evidence as to how many women benefit from the archaic policy of the laws. After the Delaware hours law was repealed in 1966, there were no complaints from women to any of the state agencies that might have been approached.

Jury service laws not making women equally liable for jury service would have to be revised.

The selective service law would have to include women, but women would not be required to serve in the Armed Forces where they are not fitted any more than men are required to serve. Military service, while a great responsibility, is not without benefits, particularly for young men with limited education or training. Since October 1966, 246,000 young men who did not meet the normal mental or physical requirements have been given opportunities for training and correcting physical problems. This opportunity is not open to their sisters. Only girls who have completed high school and meet high standards on the educational test can volunteer. Ratification of the amendment would not permit application of higher standards to women.

Survivorship benefits would be available to husbands of female workers on the same basis as to wives of male workers. The Social Security Act and the civil service and military service retirement acts are in conflict.

Public schools and universities could not be limited to one sex and could not apply different admission standards to men and women. Laws requiring longer prison sentences for women than men would be invalid, and equal opportunities for rehabilitation and vocational training would have to be provided in public correctional institutions.

Different ages of majority based on sex would have to be harmonized.

Federal, state and other governmental bodies would be obligated to follow nondiscriminatory practices in all aspects of employment, including public school teachers and state university and college faculties.

What would be the economic effects of the equal rights amendment? Direct economic effects would be minor. If any labor laws applying only to women still remained, their amendment or repeal would provide opportunity for women in better-paying jobs in manufacturing. More opportunities in public vocational and graduate schools for women would also tend to open up opportunities in better jobs for women.

Indirect effects could be much greater. The focusing of public attention on the gross legal, economic and social discrimination against women by hearings and debates in the federal and state legislatures would result in changes in attitude of parents, educators and employers that would bring about substantial economic changes in the long run.

Sex prejudice cuts both ways. Men are oppressed by the requirements of the Selective Service Act, by enforced legal guardianship of minors, and by alimony laws. Each sex, I believe, should be liable when necessary to serve and defend this country. Each has a responsibility for the support of children.

There are objections raised to wiping out laws protecting women workers. No one would condone exploitation. But what does sex have to do with it? Working conditions and hours that are harmful to women are harmful to men; wages that are unfair for women are unfair for men.

Laws setting employment limitations on the basis of sex are irrational, and the proof of this is their inconsistency from state to state. The physical characteristics of men and women are not fixed, but cover two wide spans that have a great deal of overlap. It is obvious, I think, that a robust woman could be more fit for physical labor than a weak man. The choice of occupation would be determined by individual capabilities, and the rewards for equal work should be equal.
This is what it comes down to: artificial distinctions between persons must be wiped out of the law. Legal discrimination between the sexes is, in almost every instance, founded on outmoded views of society and the pre-scientific beliefs about psychology and physiology. It is time to sweep away these relics of the past and set future generations free of them.

Federal agencies and institutions responsible for the enforcement of equal opportunity laws need the authority of a Constitutional amendment. The 1964 Civil Rights Act and the 1963 Equal Pay Act are not enough; they are limited in their coverage — for instance, one excludes teachers, and the other leaves out administrative and professional women.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has not proven to be an adequate device, with its powers limited to investigation, conciliation and recommendation to the Justice Department. In its cases involving sexual discrimination, it has failed in more than one-half. The Justice Department has been even less effective. It has intervened in only one case involving discrimination on the basis of sex, and this was on a procedural point. In a second case, in which both sexual and racial discrimination were alleged, the racial bias charge was given far greater weight.
Evidence of discrimination on the basis of sex should hardly have to be cited here. It is in the Labor Department's employment and salary figures for anyone who is still in doubt. Its elimination will involve so many changes in our state and federal laws that, without the authority and impetus of this proposed amendment, it will perhaps take another 194 years. We cannot be parties to continuing a delay. The time is clearly now to put this House on record for the fullest expression of that equality of opportunity which our Founding Fathers professed.

They professed it, but they did not assure it to their daughters, as they tried to do for their sons.

The Constitution they wrote was designed to protect the rights of white, male citizens. As there were no black Founding Fathers, there were no founding mothers — a great pity, on both counts. It is not too late to complete the work they left undone. Today, here, we should start to do so.

In closing I would like to make one point. Social and psychological effects will be initially more important than legal or economic results. As Leo Kanowitz has pointed out:

"Rules of law that treat of the sexes per se inevitably produce far-reaching effects upon social, psychological and economic aspects of male-female relations beyond the limited confines of legislative chambers and courtrooms. As long as organized legal systems, at once the most respected and most feared of social institutions, continue to differentiate sharply, in treatment or in words, between men and women on the basis of irrelevant and artificially created distinctions, the likelihood of men and women coming to regard one another primarily as fellow human beings and only secondarily as representatives of another sex will continue to be remote. When men and women are prevented from recognizing one another's essential humanity by sexual prejudices, nourished by legal as well as social institutions, society as a whole remains less than it could otherwise become."
semiotic_pirate: (Default)
The following articles are being read by me after just having started reading a book titled: The Mommy Myth. Let me tell you, between the government itself and media images and the news - we are being retrained to see being subservient little housewives an mommies as what our lives should be, what we should want them to be. I am appalled to say the least. Over 800 books published in the last twenty years telling us how to be better mothers, that we can't be satisfied without children, that children need to be our number one priority in life, that we should sacrifice ALL to them... I like kids and all, but.... And then the crap that they are feeding men, that they should want someone who they can boss around, someone who will view them as godlike. ::shudders:: No thank you, I don't want a man who needs that. This is all such utter bullshit. I wonder how long it will take us to get past these cultural idiocies - or if women (please NO) decide that it isn't worth the hassle and just go back to the status quo that we've been railing against all this time?? I wonder if we all realize how LONG it is going to take to effectively make changes? Not decades people, generations...

Men Just Want Mommy


A few years ago at a White House Correspondents' dinner, I met a very beautiful actress. Within moments, she blurted out: "I can't believe I'm 46 and not married. Men only want to marry their personal assistants or P.R. women."
Read more... )
* The article referred to in this article:

December 14, 2004

Glass Ceilings at Altar as Well as Boardroom

Men would rather marry their secretaries than their bosses, and evolution may be to blame, psychology researchers at the University of Michigan reported last week.
Read more... )


semiotic_pirate: (Default)

April 2017

2 345 6 7 8


RSS Atom

Most Popular Tags

Style Credit

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags
Page generated Sep. 23rd, 2017 11:08 am
Powered by Dreamwidth Studios