Teenage Birthrate Increases For Second Consecutive Year
By Rob Stein and Donna St. George, for Washington Post , Thursday, March 19, 2009, - The rate at which teenage girls in the United States are having babies has risen for a second year in a row, government statistics show, putting one of the nation's most successful social and public health campaigns in jeopardy.
Teen births in the District, Maryland and Virginia mirror the national trend, the numbers show, and local health experts say they are alarmed by the shift. ..more...
*FROM DEMOCRACY NOW! : On Trip to Gaza, Parents of Slain Peace Activist Rachel Corrie Remember Their Daughter Six Years After Her Death *
Today marks the sixth anniversary of the killing of American peace activist Rachel Corrie by an Israeli military bulldozer in Rafah. She had been trying to prevent the demolition of a Palestinian home near the border with Egypt when she was killed. Democracy Now! producer Anjali Kamat and Jacquie Soohen of Big Noise Films traveled to Gaza last week with a women's peace delegation and Rachel's parents, Cindy and Craig Corrie. They remember their daughter and talk about the plight of the Palestinian people.
THEATER REVIEW |
The lonely soldier monologues (women at war in Iraq)
The Feminine, Touched: War as Women’s Work
By Neil Genzlinger, for The New York Times, March 10, 2009 - If war-story fatigue prevents some theatergoers from checking out “The Lonely Soldier Monologues (Women at War in Iraq),” that will be unfortunate, because this energetically acted example of journalism as theater explores some issues that deserve more attention. Plays and films have parsed the war in Iraq from all sorts of angles — the justifications for American involvement, the treatment of wounded soldiers, the tactical mistakes — but comparatively little has been heard about the increased role of women in the military operations.
Helen Benedict, a journalism professor at Columbia, has interviewed an assortment of female veterans and constructed “The Lonely Soldier Monologues” from their words. If that sounds dry, it isn’t: William Electric Black, her director, has injected the production with plenty of theatricality, using the whole space at Theater for the New City and livening things up with percussion, chanting, even a little audience involvement...more...
UAE public enemy No. 1: Lesbians
By Tracy Clark-Flory for Salon.com, March 18, 2009 - Lest you wonder, the United Arab Emirates, recently hit hard by economic woes, totally has its priorities straight when it comes to critical domestic threats. This week, officials jumped to action by launching a campaign called “Excuse me, I am a girl." (I'm pretty sure that was lifted straight from "The Valley Girl's Guide to Political Rhetoric.") It's aim: to fight a major "menace" to Arab society: lesbians....more...
All hail the female orgasm
By Tracy Clark-Flory for Salon.com, March 17, 2009 - Spend a few years living in San Francisco and the city's many public celebrations of sexual transgression will no longer shock you. But Sunday's New York Times profiles a community located on Folsom Street, home of the world's largest BDSM and leather fair, that registers as subversive to even longtime residents like myself: a commune dedicated to the female orgasm. One Taste Urban Retreat Center aims to start a female-focused "slow-sex movement"; it's much like the "slow food movement," only it is lady parts that are being savored...more..
FROM MOTHER JONES:
If you're a young feminist, pole-dancing or otherwise, you may have already read MoJo columnist Debra J. Dickerson's gasoline-soaked match of a piece on the future of abortion providers (and why young feminists need to blog less and work more to keep reproductive choice legal). One line in particular sparked what you might call "a bit of a debate" on our Blue Marble health and environment blog, as well as this guest post by Feministing's Courtney E. Martin taking Debra to task. Ready to join the fray?
Young Feminist Does Not Equal Pole Dancer
By Jen Phillips, Posted at Mother Jones, March 13, 2009 - Some of the "young chicks" over at Feministing.com and RH Reality Check got fired up about Debra Dickerson's post on abortion providers, and weren't afraid to let us know. Check out the comments here and here. In the original post, Dickerson points out a New York Times article about the declining number of abortion providers. It's asserted that young feminists (male and female) are not making abortion services a priority, and as a result, abortion access in the future is endangered.
Firstly, I always take a New York Times trend piece with a rather huge grain of salt. These are the folks, after all, who brought us the Opt-Out Revolution and Dating A Banker Anonymous. Secondly, I think where Dickerson goes astray is when she suggests that young feminists today enjoy "pole-dancing, walking around half-naked, posting drunk photos on Facebook, and blogging about your sex lives" rather than working for reproductive rights. And thirdly, not all feminists are female...more...
Vietnam: End of the Road for Agent Orange Victims?
by Helen Clark, Published on March 16, 2009 by Inter Press Service, posted on CommonDreams.org. - Hanoi - Where can Vietnamese victims of Agent Orange get justice? Probably nowhere, after the United States Supreme Court refused to hear, this month, a final appeal by Vietnamese plaintiffs against chemical giants Dow and Monsanto.
Soon after the Mar. 2 decision on the case, that began in 2004, was announced local newspapers declared that rights had been "trampled" upon, and foreign ministry spokesman Le Dung said the nation was disgusted.
Two weeks later, the issue remains in the news and in the minds of frustrated Vietnamese citizens...more..
FROM THE PROGRESS REPORT
MEDIA --Fox news' Van Susteren's husband is a 'protector of the Palin brand':During the presidential campaign, Fox News's Greta Van Susteren had perhaps the best access to Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin (R) of any journalist. In September, she hosted a one-hour "documentary" on the GOP vice presidential candidate, titled "Governor Sarah Palin -- An American Woman." She also scored an exclusive interview with Todd Palin, in which she grilled him "on everything from the story behind the name 'First Dude' to how he feels about the name 'First Dude.'" Palin even chose Van Susteren for her first post-election national television interview. Since then, Van Susteren has consistently covered Palin, keeping an eye out for any potential slights of the governor and gushing over her popularity. On Monday, the Washington Post's Chris Cillizza revealed one of the reasons that Van Susteren may have so much interest in and access to Palin: it turns out that her husband, John Coale, is one of "the figures charged with guiding Palin's political image in Washington." In an interview with Cillizza, Coale "acknowledged that he suggested" Palin "start a leadership PAC and helped her navigate through some of the questions surrounding her family that lingered after the campaign." "Others familiar with Palin's political team insist that Coale has far more power than he is letting on -- essentially helping run Sarah PAC," reported Cillizza. According to a Nexis search, starting on the day that Sarah PAC was announced, Van Susteren has never disclosed her husband’s behind-the-scenes role on air. Ironically, just last week, Van Susteren decried people thinking she's "so close to the Palin family." "The only way that I've met them is by interviewing them," she said, never mentioning her husband's relationship to Palin.
GOOD NEWS - In a largely unnoticed change, Merriam-Webster has included a secondary definition of the word "marriage": "the state of being united to a person of the same sex in a relationship like that of a traditional marriage."
The theory of everything
by Jhon Crace for The Guardian, UK - These two British academics argue that almost every social problem, from crime to obesity, stems from one root cause: inequality. John Crace meets the authors of what might be the most important book of the year
Another day, another headline: today obesity, tomorrow teenage pregnancy, the day after crime figures. Social problems operate a revolving-door policy these days. As soon as one goes away, another turns up. For the most part, these problems are regarded as entirely separate from each other. Obesity is a health issue, crime a policing issue and so on. So the government launches new initiatives here, there and everywhere, builds new hospitals, puts more money into the police and prisons. And there's little real hope of improvement...more...
Trial Set in Kan. Late-Term Abortion Case
Washington Post, from Associated Press, March 15, 2009 - Wichita, March 14 -- For abortion opponents, the trial of one of the nation's few late-term abortion providers has been a long time coming, a chance for a little bit of justice after years of seeing their efforts thwarted.
To abortion-rights supporters, George Tiller's trial, set to begin Monday, will be the culmination of repeated harassment, a witch hunt in which his foes have been willing to do anything to gain a conviction.
Tiller and his Wichita clinic have been regular targets of antiabortion demonstrations, including the 45-day "Summer of Mercy" event staged by Operation Rescue in 1991. His clinic was damaged by a pipe bomb in 1986, and in 1993 a protester shot him in both arms...more...
Obama Creates Council on Women and Girls
Posted by AlterNet Staff, AlterNet on March 11, 2009 - Earlier today President Obama signed an executive order creating the White House Council on Women and Girls. Flanked by Nancy Pelosi, Valerie Jarrett and White House Public Liasion Tina Tchen (the two women will head the office), Obama declared:
I sign this order not just as a President, but as a son, a grandson, a husband, and a father, because growing up, I saw my mother put herself through school and follow her passion for helping others. But I also saw how she struggled to raise me and my sister on her own, worrying about how she'd pay the bills and educate herself and provide for us.
Some critics see the council as an empty gesture -- a politically expedient way for Obama to parry criticisms about his predominantly white, male cabinet. But others point out that Obama is moving in the right direction, especially considering that Bush disbanded the White House Women's Office set up by Clinton.
What will the council actually do? According to White House.gov, the office will work to draft policy in the following areas:
Improving women’s economic security by ensuring that each of the agencies is working to directly improve the economic status of women.
Working with each agency to ensure that the administration evaluates and develops policies that establish a balance between work and family.
Working hand-in-hand with the Vice President, the Justice Department’s Office of Violence Against Women and other government officials to find new ways to prevent violence against women, at home and abroad.
Finally, the critical work of the Council will be to help build healthy families and improve women’s health care.
Shorter Catholic Church: The Right to Life Ends at Birth
Posted by Jill Filipovic, Feministe on March 8, 2009 at 10:47 AM.
This is an interesting piece, but one part in particular stands out:
I asked my colleague Elizabeth Tenety, producer of Divine Impulses and our former “Campus Catholic” blogger, to explain [why the Church targets Catholic politicians who support abortion rights, but not those who favor the death penalty]. “From a Catholic perspective, I don’t think it’s about diminishing the death penalty’s wrongness, but saying that the right to life is the primary dignity afforded human beings,” she said. “Once you get out of the womb, life gets a lot more complicated and so does the working through of the ’seamless garment,’” she said.
“Seamless garment” is a New Testament phrase. In 1983, the late Joseph Cardinal Bernardin, then the most influential U.S. archbishop, used the phrase to defend linking opposition to capital punishment and nuclear weapons to opposition to abortion. He argued that all of these “prolife” policies constitute a “”consistent ethic of life,” a “seamless garment.”
In other words, the right to life isn’t absolute — it ends at birth.
Even More Police Brutality: NYPD Accused of Raping Intoxicated Woman
Posted by Cara, Feministe on March 4, 2009 at 11:17 AM.
Following in the wake of the beating of a 15-year-old girl by county cops in Washington state, and adding to the growing mountain of police brutality against women I am even more disheartened to hear about another set of accusations of police violence. This time, two male cops escorted a drunk woman to her home in the East Village, then returned to her apartment twice in the early hours of the morning. On their third visit, something happened. The cops are calling it sex; the investigators are dubious; the woman reported it later that day as a rape.
The thought of two police officers, supposedly entrusted with the safety of the people, taking advantage of an intoxicated woman makes me want to puke. This story has unfolded in the city’s media over the last few days. First the accusation and investigation, including a discovery of heroin and the "personal information" of other women in the accused rapist’s locker. I don’t know what "personal information" means. A little black book of women he could go have sex with while on duty? Photos? Stalking notes? Who the hell knows. (The guy is married with two kids, incidentally.)
Yesterday, it came to light that multiple surveillance cameras had caught the officers’ comings and goings throughout the night, even though they appeared to be trying to stay out of sight of the building’s main security camera. Once again, I have perturbed and mixed feelings that the constant surveillance we live under around here (and in so many other cities) actually helps document abuses of power and violence against women. In this case, friends of the woman went to a nearby bar later the same day to ask the owner for surveillance footage.