Some conservatives have started laying into the Oscar-winning movie 12 Years a Slave for creating an unfairly negative portrayal of slavery. You see, the movie portrays slaves being made unhappy by slavery. But that negativity is merely anti-slavery “propaganda,” according to James Bowman in conservative magazine The American Spectator:
If ever in slavery’s 250-year history in North America there were a kind master or a contented slave, as in the nature of things there must have been, here and there, we may be sure that Mr McQueen does not want us to hear about it. This, in turn, surely means that his view of the history of the American South is as partial and one-sided as that of the hated Gone With the Wind.
…Yes, there was much cruelty and hardship in the slave-owning South, as there has been in most of the rest of the world most of the time, and Mr. McQueen’s camera is all over that. But it strains ordinary credulity to suppose that there was nothing else.
We are wondering, was Bowman equally aggrieved by the lack of happy Jews in Schindler’s List?
Climate Council report: over 150 weather records broken last summer, climate change cited as reason
A new report shows Australia has endured another summer of searing temperatures, with more than 150 weather records broken.
The council is releasing its Angry Summer report today, which analyses climate data from across the country for the 2013-2014 summer.
A network of tunnels 33 metres under Clapham in London, originally built as a WWII bomb shelter, is being used to grow a range of different salad vegetables destined for Londoners’ plates.
This week, Wired.co.uk paid a visit to the subterranean farm, descending the winding steps deep into the bowels of southwest London. The space is enormous. It’s made up of two seemingly never-ending tunnels (actually 430 metres long), lit — at least during our visit — only by the torches of Steven Dring and Richard Ballard, the founders of Zero Carbon Food, the company behind this agricultural curiosity.
The space — owned by Transport for London — has been lying dormant since WWII, when it was used as a bomb shelter that could accommodate 8,000 people. There have been occasional requests from ambitious club promoters to host parties in the tunnels, but the lack of appropriate fire escapes makes it an unfeasible venue. But not for plants, it seems.
Marking a first in the history of UN peacekeeping, an all-female Formed Police Unit arrived in Liberia on 30 January to strengthen the rule of law and maintain peace in the war-torn country as part of the United Nations Mission in Liberia(UNMIL).
They also jointly organized a summit on “Women in Peacebuilding” in New Delhi in February 2013, which included the participation of 100 women peacekeepers, peace mediators, political authorities, senior government officials, academia, and civil and military personnel from UN Missions. It generated momentum and political will to advocate for more women in peacekeeping, and resulted in an Outcome Declaration endorsed by the Chief of the Indian Army, Indian Permanent Mission and DPKO.
EUREKA, Calif. - It did not look particularly like a history-making day in the Redwoods. The jars of condoms and the pinned-up primer on the HPV vaccine at the Six Rivers Planned Parenthood were undisturbed, and the waiting room was no more taxed than any other Saturday. The usual lone protester, loosely referred to as “the pastor,” had come early, before the clinic even opened, and gone home.
But inside the employee kitchen, there was proof of something special about this January morning, days after the anniversary of Roe v. Wade. “Well-behaved women rarely make history,” read a note affixed to some irises. “Today we make history!!!” Another card thanked one nurse practitioner by name for “blazing the trail.”
Thanks to a law passed last year, California is actually adding abortion providers - nearly fifty nurse practitioners, nurse midwives, and physicians’ assistants, trained to provide aspiration abortions in the first trimester -with more to come.
PHOTO BY EMILY SHUR FOR MSNBC
Debbie Bamberger, a Bay area-nurse practitioner who has just become an abortion provider.
The state is bucking a nationwide trend as a wave of new restrictions is forcing abortion providers across the country to shut their doors. In Texas, the second-largest state after California, initial enforcement of a law passed last year initially put a third of the clinics of the state out of commission, and when new regulations go into effect in September, all but a half-dozen clinics are expected to close.
To be launched on 10 March 2014, a new UN Women report, Hearts & Minds: Women of India Speak, sheds light on this important issue by sharing the stories of Bhuri Bibi and other women.
India has a Gender Inequality Index ranking of 132 out of 148 countries in 2013, according to UNDP’s Human Development Report. Its child sex ratio (the number of females per thousand males from 0 to 6 years of age) has declined rapidly in recent years - meaning fewer girls are being born. According to the 2011 Census, from 927 girls for every 1000 boys in 2001, the ratio has dropped to 919 girls in 2011.
Between 2011-2013, UN Women trained 800 female motivators to encourage other women to participate in special meetings meant only for women or mahila sabhas, where they spoke about domestic violence as well as other social issues such as alcoholism, dowry, sex selection and child marriage. Over the same period, 6 million women participated in 1,172 Gram Sabhas, 5,163 ward sabhas and 3,179 mahila sabhas (women’s meetings at different local levels).
I applaud Randa Jarrar. I applaud her for fighting to save the “purity of idea” of her culture. However, I find her admonishment of white belly dancers troubling, for several reasons.
In a new Salon article, the Author claims:
Whether they know it or not, white women who practice belly dance are engaging in appropriation
The essence of her disapproval is :
Arab women are not vessels for white women to pour themselves and lose themselves in; we are not bangles or eyeliner or tiny bells on hips. We are human beings. This dance form is originally ours, and does not exist so that white women can have a better sense of community; can gain a deeper sense of sisterhood with each other; can reclaim their bodies; can celebrate their sexualities; can perform for the female gaze. Just because a white woman doesn’t profit from her performance doesn’t mean she’s not appropriating a culture. And, ultimately, the question is this: Why does a white woman’s sisterhood, her self-reclamation, her celebration, have to happen on Arab women’s backs?
She calls it ‘Arab Face’ to suggest it somehow is akin to ‘Black Face’ :
Blackface is a form of theatrical makeup used by white performers to represent a black person. It is often considered offensive, because it can imply stereotyped caricature of black people as in minstrel shows, and later vaudeville.
This is where her article really goes off the rails. Belly dancing is not akin to “Black Face”. Belly dancing is not used to forward stereotypical caricatures of Arab women. Nor is it any more a minstrel show than a white Hibachi chef at Benihana.
‘Black Face’ was primarily used to forward and further racial disharmony in the united states. In and of itself, it was the stereotype that was important, not the ‘Black Face’. It was not so much that the insult in ‘Black face’ lies in the costuming, it instead lies in the buffoonery carried out while wearing the costume, thus forever linking the stereotype with the visual aesthetic.
This is not the case in belly dancing. When most women, their race notwithstanding, engage in belly dancing, it is a form of sexual liberation, not racial campaigning. It is a feminine form of seizing power. That within the exact feminine confines of her body, she can exert and control men. That she not do so on a mans terms, through aggression and conflagration, but through feminine characteristics. Belly dancing is an artistic expression of women’s lib.
Nor has the image and stereotype of modern Arabic women matched the Belly dancer. The modern prejudicial stereotype of Arabic women is one of hijabs and burqas. I grant this is not a fair prejudice, but this is the reality.
In fact, if anything, furthering the culture of belly dancing to the world at large will do more to divest that same world of these modern prejudices. By sharing this liberated, female-power oriented part of Arabic culture with the world, it ingratiates and informs women around the world of just how complex and beautiful being an Arabic Woman can be.
While there were rumblings that “the real slim shady” Eminem, was too white to be a rapper, and before him vanilla ice, etc., today we completely dismiss these ideas. Macklemore does more to further both hip-hop music and the culture that gave it to us.
The Streets did not appropriate South London Black culture, they borrowed it, added on to it, in some ways improved it, and others took away from its purity. It also furthered it, and today both the South London community, and the music it spawned are better for it.
The world does not need intransigent cultures, entrenched unto themselves. It needs cultural exogamy and miscegenation.
“The World’s Only Reliable News,” better than Russia Today and the Drudge Report combined!
BOLSHAYA YELNIA - An all-female religious sect believe that Vladimir Putin is the reincarnation of St. Paul the Apostle.
The religious sect of the Russian Orthodox church consists entirely of women, who meet in a small three story brick building in Bolshaya Yelnia, a small town near the Volga River.
Vladimir Putin has become the ultimate object of veneration for the sect whose members believe the premier is the reincarnation of St. Paul the Apostle.
The sect was founded by a woman calling herself Mother Fotina in the village of Bolshaya Yelnia. Mother Fotina, whose real name is reportedly Svetlana Frolova, teaches her followers that Putin was St. Paul in his past life and that his political career follows in the early Christian missionary’s footsteps.
“According to the Bible, Paul the Apostle was a military commander at first,” she is quoted as saying. “In his days in the KGB, Putin also did some rather unrighteous things. But once he became president, he was imbued with the Holy Spirit, and just like the apostle, he started heading his flock.”
The number of women in the sect is unknown, but estimates are over two million Russian women.
Vladmir Putin supports the sect. “It is impressive that they think so highly of the me. They make a lot of sense,” Putin reportedly said.
Last week Republican Puerto Rican Senator Roberto Arango became embroiled in a public scandal when images of a shirtless man who appeared to be him were leaked to the press.
The images were from the gay dating phone app Grindr, which was a tad curious considering Arango’s public image was that of a divorced heterosexual man who was raising a daughter. The Senator was also known for voting in favor of several anti-gay bills.
Initially, Arango scoffed at suggestions that he was the man in the images. Then he admitted he often took photos of himself shirtless to document a weight-loss regimen but didn’t remember taking those specific images. When more explicit images leaked out, the Senator stopped talking to media altogether.
Yesterday, he resigned from the Senate.
Not surprisingly, you could read the list of his positions and statements and he would fit in well with the Tea Party / Religious Right crowd.
Against Civil Unions… Check
In early 2007 reports emerged that a legislative commission studying changes to Puerto Rico’s Civil Code was considering allowing civil unions for all couples regardless of sexual orientation. Conservative religious organizations were outraged and warned that civil unions would weaken marriage and change the family structure. They mounted a campaign against the measure and Senator Arango served as their messenger in the legislature.
Against Same Sex Couples Adopting… Check
In September of 2009, Senator Kimmey Raschke managed to sneak in a bill banning adoption rights for gays by keeping the language of the bill under wraps until the last day of the legislative session. Arango, a close ally of Raschke, defended the secrecy behind the bill and assured reporters that it would be brought to the Senate floor. From “La adopción en el menú del dia / Adoption on the day’s menu” (El Nuevo Dia, September 25, 2009) :
Outlandish Behavior and statements… you betcha!
The allegation that had been the toughest to confirm over the weekend were reports that during his first senate election campaign, Arango had held a rubber duck at a public campaign stop and mocked an opponent’s sexuality by making quaking noises and calling him a “pato” [“Pato”, the Spanish word for “duck”, is used in the island as a pejorative word for gays, akin to calling someone a “faggot” in English].
Lucky for us, today’s print issue Primera Hora includes it in a chronology of the Senator’s career and even provides a photo.
Much more at the article… it’s well documented and well written.
Color me Surprised by all of this.
Rand Paul Says U.S. Should Drill in ‘Every Possible, Conceivable Place’ to Address Ukraine Situation
Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) said Sunday that the situation in Ukraine should be an impetus to ramp up oil and gas drilling in the United States and clear the path for exports.
“I would immediately get every obstacle out of the way for our export of oil and gas,” said Paul in an appearance on “Fox News Sunday.” “And I would begin drilling in every possible, conceivable place within our territories in order to have production that we can supply Europe with if it’s interrupted from Ukraine.”
Russia’s state-owned energy company, Gazprom, has been threatening to cut off gas supplies to Ukraine, citing unpaid bills from February. But the ongoing political standoff between the two countries has Europe bracing for the possibility that this could lead to gas shortages.