Sunday, March 29, 2015

Odds & Ends

In the event that Iran and the members of P5+1 reach a preliminary agreement on Iran's nuclear program this week, we can expect a release of sound and fury from conservatives about how it sets the world on fire. To prepare yourself for making your own determination about the value of any such agreement, Jeffrey Goldberg lists the five questions you should ask.

During the 1980's when Iran and Iraq were at war with each other, the Reagan and Bush administrations facilitated the selling of chemical agents and equipment to Iraq. Then during the first Gulf War, the U.S. bombed some of those chemical weapons facilities and more than 200,000 of our troops were exposed to nerve gas and other chemical agents. If you've ever questioned why President Obama hesitates to arm factions in the Middle East, you'll want to read the whole story by Barbara Koeppel.

One of the negative consequences to the delay in a Senate vote to confirm the nomination of Loretta Lynch as our next Attorney General is that it has given rightwing advocacy groups more time to lobby against her. It should come as no surprise to anyone that the NRA is doing just that.

Yesterday when I listed some of the recent accomplishments of the Civil Rights Division at DOJ, I left one out.
Teenagers awaiting trial on adult charges in Baltimore are being kept in solitary confinement for far too long — up to 143 days in one case, according to a highly critical review by the U.S. Justice Department's Division of Civil Rights.

Federal prosecutors say being isolated for more than a few days can damage a person's mental health — especially if it's a teenager whose brain is still developing. But teenagers accused of breaking rules inside the Baltimore City Detention Center are being isolated for 13 days on average, and in some cases, far longer.
Placing children (and yes, teenagers are children) in solitary confinement is unacceptable. End of story.

On a lighter note, here's something to look forward to this fall.
Focus Features has slated Suffragette, starring Meryl Streep, Carey Mulligan and Helena Bonham Carter, for an October 23 limited release. Inspired by the early-20th century campaign for women’s right to vote, the film sports potentially awards-friendly subject matter — not to mention a certain 19-time Oscar nominee...

Director Sarah Gavron’s pic centers on Maud (Mulligan), a working wife and mother who decides she must fight for her dignity both at home and in her workplace. Realizing she is not alone, she joins with several other women in becoming an activist. Those early efforts at resistance were passive, but the suffragettes become galvanized — risking it all for the cause of women’s right.

That provides the perfect segue into the next entry in "Nancy's favorite feminist songs." This one has a definite 80's feel to it. But I still love it a lot.

5 comments:

  1. 'Afternoon, Nancy

    Just for what it's worth, ain't feelin' "Suffragette" as, as was the case then and STILL now, this is about white women. Think Ms. Arquette stepped in it for all to see during the Oscars. Women of color continue to be an aside or an after thought at best re: the Feminist movement. When they say "women", they are NOT talking about all women. Woman actually said that all others needed to step back. Geeezzzz......

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    1. While I agree with you that Ms. Arquette stepped in it - big time, and I know that the suffragette's were exclusively white women, I'm not going to join you in not feelin' this part of our history. Almost every moment we've stepped forward in the work of "perfecting our union," there have been limitations on how far that one step took us. For example, we could also critique Lincoln for not being supportive of the black franchise. Progress has been made despite the fact that it is championed by imperfect human beings.

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  2. For the sake of clarity, I'm not asking you to join me. This is how I feel about it. And, no ma'am. The suffragettes were, actually, not exclusively white(which is why the above pic, for me, is annoying because it's a very edited version of the whole truth. and that truth, now, is very readily obtainable) Black women, a number of whose names you know, were right there organizing and on it in 1848. 'Course, Ms. Anthony made it rather clear about what she'd rather do than have black women (and men) vote. And, clearly, as Ms. Arquette very plainly stated, women of color have been and continue to be marginalized in this movement.

    You know I very much understand and adhere to pragmatic progress. And, I'm certainly not suggesting that baby, bath water, plumbing and everything else be thrown out because of lack of perfection. But, this marginalization has been and continues to be a significant problem for this movement. And, it would appear, that, unless more heat is put to it, HBO, for example, is gonna go with the status quo approach.

    How you handle this,of course, is up to you. But, in 2015, if you're gonna go historical about suffrage, there exists at pretty much everybody's finger tips, information that can show a considerably more complete picture. And, it's one with problems from without AND from within.

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    1. It was that rejection of black people's participation by the stuffragette's that I was referring to when I acknowledged that they were exclusively white. All of that mess has been pretty effectively documented.

      But I'll tell you how a lot of this makes me feel: Its like I'm supposed to disqualify the good that was accomplished for people like me because they were too short-sighted at their particular moment in history. I'll gladly admit they were wrong. But that doesn't negate the fact that they accomplished something VERY important.

      I won't stand for that kind of nonsense now (i.e., Arquette). But history is what it is. And so I'll celebrate the good that these women were able to accomplish - even if it was not complete.

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  3. Indeed it has been rather well documented. Which is why, since HBO has decided to attempt to tell the story, t'would have been, at least to me, much better to tell as much of the whole story as possible. It's interesting to me, and I appreciate very much your explaining how my comments are making you feel, that you're having the reactions you are. My intent was not to have you thinking or feeling that you're supposed to disqualify, in terms of progress, what was done. I'm attempting to point out that what you're defining as their being historically short-sighted (now, from where I sit, "short-sighted" is quite kind. a number, including Ms. Anthony, were racist) continues to this day. Ms. Arquette is the current poster woman stating who the women's movement is supposed to be for, but she's hardly alone. There, to me, is much more to be done, then, WITHIN the movement. Again, to me, in these days and times as the country shall continue to grow more brown, can one realistically expect to make the much deserved and too long delayed progress for equality for women in the country as a whole - by telling women of color to stand aside? That, to me, is much like the Right thinking that they will continue to grow and succeed by using their same old approaches. They have worked. But, as Mr. Pence is discovering, not no more.

    I am completely aware that you "won't stand for that kind of nonsense". Therein... Folks (and, in my experience, regardless of the "race") who are actually like how Ms. Arquette sounded won't change their hearts unless someone who looks like them issues the challenge (regardless of race. intra group stuff). Guess who is damn good at stuff like that?

    And, perhaps I should've been more clear. "You" as in HBO. Not "you" as in Nancy. PBO points out frequently how messy progress is. He's correct. Like any number of other matters with their intricacies, The Women's Movement, to me, isn't an either/or. It's a both/and. So...feel good. And, when the spirit moves, light 'em up. Just like you did today.

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