The Good, The Bad, and The Silly

The Good

Revolution is everywhere! Governor Walker of Wisconsin has said that the Democrat walk-out will only delay the inevitable passage of his bill that strips unions of their right to be unions, but I say it ain’t over til it’s over. Kudos to all the Wisconsin citizens and public employees who are protesting in the hundreds of thousands this week. (And I sure hope radio host Vicki McKenna gets fired for straight-up lying that liberals want to assassinate Walker.) Check out these funny–and biting–protest signs at the state capitol. Courage and success to you, Wisconsin workers!

Of course there are concerns about the military taking charge in Egypt now that Mubarak is out, but their refusal to gun down their fellow citizens despite an order from the then-president is an encouraging sign for how a military can truly be for the protection, rather than the oppression, of the people.

I’m putting this one in “The Good” because action is being taken — over 4,000 rape kits remain untested in Illinois. But we now have a law requiring them all to be tested and not remain languishing in evidence rooms, and the state plans to have them all tested by 2015. This will go far in bringing rape victims justice in Illinois.

The Bad

The assault on women’s bodies and lives continues apace: The Ohio “Heartbeat” Bill (which, by the way, a heartbeat does not indicate viability, if we’re slicing fine lines here) is expected to pass both the state house and senate. I like Melissa McEwan’s response, which boils down to: don’t pretend the anti-choice movement isn’t inherently violent, because it is.

Congress is voting possibly this weekend on defunding all Title X programs, which would render Planned Parenthood  bankrupt and take away the only source of health care for millions of American women. (Keep in mind that Title X programs include many non-PP community health centers.) Check out this fantastic resource from the Guttmacher Institute, which allows you to click on individual states and see how Title X funding is spent in those states. It illuminates just how devastating this defunding would be. Note that the restrictions on federal funding for abortions are already so tight that NO Planned Parenthood can use federal funds to provide abortions, so this bill would take away other essential health services just because abortions are sometimes performed in the same building. Incidentally, this NYT article on the bill makes a huge journalistic mistake in reporting that “[Title X funding to PP] opponents say only frees up funds for abortions” and not clarifying just how the money is spent. Saying what opponents argue without backing it up with facts is poor journalism. But the rest of the article does an okay job laying out the fight. TAKE ACTION: Call your representative TODAY at (202) 224-3121 and urge them to vote NO on the Title X provision of the budget bill.

UPDATE: The House just voted to remove all Title X funding for Planned Parenthood. Sign this letter right now and call your senator to demand that it stop in the Senate.

Texas Governor Rick Perry has declared emergency legislation. Oh it’s pretty serious business, all right — now pre-abortion sonograms are required statewide. So if you want to have an abortion, you have to look at a picture of the embryo or fetus first. Just so you’re sure.

Just because they pulled the proposed legislation doesn’t mean Arizona lawmakers don’t have a lot to answer for, proposing that hospitals be required to check if patients are undocumented immigrants before providing care.

Speaking of shelved legislation, South Dakota isn’t going to bring up the Legalize Murder bill just yet, but you can bet it’s coming back in the next couple years. (Oh my bad, the actual title of the bill is “An Act to expand the definition of justifiable homicide to provide for the protection of certain unborn children.” Same thing.) See McEwan’s post above about how terrifyingly violent the “pro-life” movement is, and why so many health care providers are scared just to go to their jobs.

If you liked the HR 3 Ten mentioned in Tuesday’s post, check out the full list here.

The Silly

Are you an English nerd? Do you also like old-school video games? Check out The Great Gatsby Game. (Thanks to Mlle. O’Leary for the link.)

The Good, The Bad, and The Silly

The Good

The Illinois legislature has passed a bill approving civil unions. Governor Quinn is expected to sign it into law by the end of the year. Hurrah Illinois! One step closer to actual equality for LGBTs.

The Pope has made a tiny concession to people who use condoms — they may no longer be headed straight to hell! Baby steps, I guess, although as tigtog points out, there are a lot more steps to go toward making the Catholic Church the loving kind of body it purports to be for members and non-members alike.

This news is very late, but Aung San Suu Kyi has been released from her house arrest in Burma. That Feministing article has links to her speech, which is definitely worth checking out. This woman is a human rights hero and has been a vocal activist for decades, not to mention a Nobel Peace Prize winner. Amnesty International has been advocating for her release for years. Congratulations and I wish her a safe and productive future.

The Bad

Instead of extended unemployment benefits as they usually do, members of Congress have got into the Grinchy spirit and stalled in partisan politics. A lot of people are going to lose their homes (aren’t we done with that yet?) and more from this.

It’s no secret that the intersectionality of identities and abuses based on those identities is a huge part of the discussion of human rights among contemporary social justice groups. Being black isn’t worse or better than being a woman, and vice versa, for example. Unfortunately, mainstream organizations and the government haven’t caught on to this idea yet, and so it is that one group’s needs is determined as less important than another’s. This kind of bargaining is what resulted in black women’s concerns being shunted aside in the 2nd wave of the feminist movement, and it’s what makes many civil rights historians look at the civil rights movement from one angle only, instead of taking into account women’s particular experiences. This great article takes a quick look at how many white men raped and abused black women, and how recent attempts to rectify past wrongs do not allow for pursuing justice in those cases. Also, check it out — Rosa Parks was the main NAACP investigator in the case study presented in the article. Rosa Parks did an awful lot of amazing things!

The Silly

Sessily sent me this cool link: posters made up of the text of a book! I don’t see any book on there that I want in poster form, although The Wizard of Oz and Moby-Dick look really cool. I think an Ursula K. LeGuin novel would be great — Shevek boarding the spaceship in The Dispossessed or just about any scene from the Earthsea series.