October 16, 2009
I haven’t spoken in this particular venue on the subject of Roman Polanski, largely because others have said what I think so well already. Furthermore, I find myself wondering, partly, what’s left to discuss? A 44-year-old man in a position of power drugged and raped a 13-year-old girl. There was a shitty plea bargain and some legal shenanigans, and the man served a little time, but fled the country to avoid serving any more, and has lived in Europe ever since. The fact remains, though, that he raped a 13-year-old girl, and justice was arguably not served on that point. Now he’s been re-apprehended, and what I’ve simply been dumbfounded by is the pundits and celebrities who want to discuss not whether the re-apprehension itself was shady, not the aforementioned legal shenanigans and/or the problematic nature of plea bargains, not whether California’s limited resources might be better spent on other things—but whether or not what Polanski did was really rape and/or was justifiable.
This week, William Saletan made a foray into the rape apologism surrounding the Polanski case. Now, I know that Saletan has given feminists every reason to ignore what he says outright, but I stumbled upon this round of garbage via a Think Progress e-mail and it incensed me enough that I had to write about it. Read the rest of this entry »
June 4, 2009
So much has happened lately: the issues of torture and the abuse of detainees continue to rear their ugly heads. President Obama nominated Justice Sotomayor for the Supreme Court (and the wingnuts, predictably, went completely batshit) on the same day the California Supreme Court upheld Proposition 8. Dr. George Tiller was murdered. On all of these subjects I tend to find myself vacillating between being at a complete loss for words and babbling incoherently, and ultimately I feel like there’s really nothing I can say that others haven’t already said better. I’m not a journalist; I need time to let things stew before I can adequately articulate my thoughts and feelings. To wit, when Evil Bender told me on Sunday that Dr. Tiller had been murdered, first I said, “No,” partly disbelieving him entirely and partly hoping Tiller had been shot and rushed to the hospital and had been thought to be dead but would actually turn out to be alive. My next response was to tear up and say, “Motherfucker.” Neither word makes for a particularly substantive blog post.
Okay, so why am I going into this now? Well, something goofy came across my desk this morning that I thought would make for a nice lighter-side post, but I was concerned that without having at least acknowledged the other things going on in the country these days, it would come off as insensitive (at the least) and/or as if I’d been living under a rock. So. There we are.
November 6, 2007
Keith Olbermann’s Special Comments are always powerful; that was particularly true of his Special Comment last night, which addressed waterboarding and torture. Shakesville has the video and transcript — I highly recommend you check it out.
September 27, 2007
- Mychal Bell is out on bail, and will face charges as a juvenile rather than as an adult.
- Warren Jeffs was found guilty:
After deliberating for 16 hours, the jury in St George found Mr Jeffs had orchestrated the marriage of the girl to her 19-year-old cousin and encouraged her to have sex by telling her she would go to hell if she did not.
- The Matthew Shepard Local Law Enforcement Enhancement Act was passed in the Senate.
August 12, 2007
Radical Vixen scored an interview with Deborah Jeane Palfrey, also known as the DC Madam. There’s a lot of good reading in there, from critiques of the mainstream media to discussions of the ways in which our civil rights are being eroded to, of course, prostitution, and whether or not what we do in our bedrooms is any of the government’s business, even if there’s money involved.
It’s worth reading even if the issue of decriminalizing or legalizing prostitution doesn’t interest you. Here, in a nutshell, is why: Palfrey was under observation for nearly three years before the government made a move, and
. . . I think what is disturbing about this situation is that this appears to have started as an observation of Deborah Jeane Palfrey, her life, her assets, her finances her day to day dealings for business etc. This never appeared to have been an investigation into prostitution related activities as much as it appears to have been some sort of observation of Deborah Jeane Palfrey’s life. Which is very scary, which makes you kind of wonder what were they watching me for? Because you know what I’m just an average, ordinary person.
August 7, 2007
While reading yesterday about the situation in Indiana in which two men who have been partners for twenty-five years are being kept apart by one man’s parents after that man suffered an aneurysm, I came across a comment that caught my attention. In that comment, which I unfortunately can’t seem to find, a woman stated that she was concerned about what would happen to her [adopted] children if something happened to her partner, the children’s biological mother, when they were visiting family in Oklahoma, since that state wouldn’t recognize her parental rights. Thus I was pleased to come across this news today:
The 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, sitting in Denver, has upheld a lower court ruling that struck down an Oklahoma law described as being so extreme it had the potential to make children adopted by same-sex couples in other states legal orphans when the families are in Oklahoma.
”We hold that final adoption orders by a state court of competent jurisdiction are judgments that must be given full faith and credit under the Constitution by every other state in the nation,” the 10th Circuit said in its ruling.
Huzzah. Read the rest of this entry »
August 6, 2007
You see phrases like the title of this post on bumper stickers, or hear similar lines in songs. It has perhaps become trite, or easy to scoff at. Still, I find it rings true, especially on days like today, when I’m tired and PMS-ing and just generally snarky. What follows is a brief rundown of some of the things sticking in my craw today. Read the rest of this entry »
June 16, 2007
Good stuff from the blogs I read, posted over the past week or so. As usual, I’m posting excerpts, but the full posts are well worth reading. Enjoy!
On the 40th anniversary of Loving vs. Virginia:
- Mildred Loving’s statement via Dispatches:
Surrounded as I am now by wonderful children and grandchildren, not a day goes by that I don’t think of Richard and our love, our right to marry, and how much it meant to me to have that freedom to marry the person precious to me, even if others thought he was the “wrong kind of person” for me to marry. I believe all Americans, no matter their race, no matter their sex, no matter their sexual orientation, should have that same freedom to marry. Government has no business imposing some people’s religious beliefs over others. Especially if it denies people’s civil rights.
- TerranceDC at Pam’s House Blend:
I went [to a press conference and a reception celebrating the anniversary] because I live in a state where forty years ago I could not marry the person I love, because he is white and I am black. I went because today I live in a state where, forty years later I still cannot marry the person I love because we are two men.
On the problems with puppy mills: Christie Keith: When you want a puppy and you want one now… why you should wait:
A lot of people seem to have itchy fingers when it comes to ordering up a puppy on the Internet these days, and can’t resist popping a furry little bundle of joy into their online shopping cart, just like it was a book or an electronic game.
The thing is, that mass-produced book or piece of software doesn’t have a mother living her entire life in a cage only a few inches bigger than she is, being used to crank out litter after litter for the puppy mill industry. And your “no questions asked” puppy does.
Every so often, outfits like ACTA put out these “studies” in which they “demonstrate” that (a) professors hate America, (b) Ward Churchill is everywhere, and (c) professors hate Shakespeare. I am not exaggerating (very much), I assure you. One of ACTA’s recent pamphlets (published in May 2006) was indeed called How Many Ward Churchills? (.pdf) You’d think they would milk the suspense — dear me! just how many Ward Churchills are indoctrinating our impressionable little children? — but apparently ACTA didn’t think its readership would have much of an attention span, since the pamphlet starts on page one with the heading “How Many Ward Churchills?” and proceeds to conclude on page two of a 50-page booklet that “Ward Churchill is Everywhere.” You know, sorta like Elvis.
This year, they’ve come up with a new “study,” The Vanishing Shakespeare (another .pdf). Now, in order to appreciate this kind of work, you have to consider its intended audience. (I’m told that the original title was ZOMG! They Are Killing Shakespeare OH NOES!!, which I think captures the spirit of the thing.) The primary audience, of course, consists of people who know nothing about English literature (or college courses in English literature) except that Shakespeare was America’s greatest writer and that Hamlet’s soliloquy from Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is truly sublime.
On engagement rings and other patriarchal institutions:
- Jessica at Feministing (emphasis in the original):
It’s always been the consumerism behind engagement rings that bothered me most. As if you can’t really be in love without spending a substantial sum of cash. I guess it just always struck me as..well, unromantic.
- Amanda at Pandagon:
I wore an engagement ring for a few months when I was 23 years old, and it was one of the more surreal times of my life, albeit for various reasons. People really act like you’re a different person than you were before you were engaged. You’ve been Chosen. You count as a woman now. Like I said in the comments at Feministe, I hated having my friends grab my hand and wag my ring at people with this odd mixture of envy and pity, and I reacted with an odd mix of pride and revulsion and mostly humiliation. Being Chosen kind of sucked; I found myself dressing more conservatively and I quit dying my hair crazy colors and took out my nose ring. Some sort of evil engaged monster took over my soul, and I eventually came around to deciding (after the relationship ended) that I never wanted to be in that situation again.
And finally, on a student-authored play in Connecticut: Once Upon a Time: The Play’s the Thing — Especially in Stepford, and Especially About War:
But even as 15 student actors were polishing the script and perfecting their accents for a planned April performance, the school principal last week canceled the play, titled “Voices in Conflict,” citing questions of political balance and context.
June 10, 2007
PHOENIX — A Mesa man convicted of second-degree murder in the slaying of an unborn child was sentenced Friday to 36 years in prison.
Jorge Mario Gurrola, 25, was found guilty in January by a Maricopa County Superior Court jury of striking his pregnant 21-year-old girlfriend in 2005, causing her to suffer brain damage that authorities said eventually led to her death.
Gurrola was sentenced to 16 years in the death of Monica Sanchez and 20 years for the killing of her fetus.
Yes indeed, you read that right: Gurrola was sentenced to 25% more time for killing the fetus (see comments below regarding proper terminology) than he was for killing the woman. I’ve been trying to find more information on this case, something that might explain the discrepancy between the two sentences. I haven’t had much luck. Read the rest of this entry »
February 26, 2007
I saw this on Pandagon this morning, and wanted to post about it because it relates to a couple of other posts I’m currently working on. I frequently hear cries that hate crimes legislation grants minorities special rights, and that racism isn’t a problem anymore. Because of that, I wanted to draw my readers’ attention to this case in Texas. The story begins with a sheriff’s deputy being led to an unconscious man:
…Elder could make out a figure on the ground, huddled in the fetal position. He was a short, slight black man, and he was wearing only a T-shirt and jeans despite the cool weather. Elder knelt down, and after fishing the man’s identification out of his pocket, the deputy saw that he was Billy Ray Johnson. Around Linden, the county seat, Billy Ray was often seen hanging around the courthouse square or walking by the side of the road, and he was what people in town politely called “slow.” Elder could see that he was alive but in bad shape. The bottom half of his face was bruised and swollen, and his breathing sounded labored. His upper lip was cut, and blood had pooled on the ground under him. His entire body had been badly stung by fire ants. The deputy tried to wake him, but Billy Ray was unconscious.
At first the deputy assumed Billy Ray had been hit by a car, but as the story unfolded, it turned out that Billy Ray had received a punch to the face (I’m skeptical that it was just a single punch, but I might think a single punch can’t do all that much damage due to seeing too many cheesy action movies), and his unconscious body had been dumped beside the road. After a handful of anonymous tips stating only that the sheriff’s department should look into what happened to Billy Ray, the department began to investigate… Read the rest of this entry »