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“Instead of offering aid, McCain advised them to move to a different state.” August 17, 2017

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“[Kevin Pratt-King] had asked McCain for help after being diagnosed with the same form of aggressive cancer, glioblastoma. Instead of offering aid, according to Roy’s tweet, McCain advised them to move to a different state.”

“Social workers began going door to door in San Juan housing projects, explaining that a pill could be taken daily to prevent pregnancy. Once women were told what the pill did, they signed up by the hundreds. However, these women were not informed that they were part of a clinical trial or that the treatment was experimental.”

“Side effects [of the vaginal implant] can range from chronic pain and loss of sexual function, to major complications like the implant protruding through the bladder, or bowels, even necessitating removal of organs ensnared in the mesh. It can shrink inside your body, slicing through nerve endings, tissue and organs.

If someone makes the effort of going to doctor after doctor, and all they are given is a pat on the head and told, ‘Oh, sweetie, you’ll be OK—you just need to smile more,’ that is a failure of the physicians.” Article covers both social biases (like doctors assuming a woman’s problems are psychosomatic instead of doing tests) and biological ones (like researchers only testing on male mice, leaving them with huge gaps in knowledge regarding biologically female humans).

“The Gay Men’s Chorus posed to illustrate the impact of AIDS. Those dressed in black, with their backs turned, represent those who had died.” This 1993 photo is a punch in the heart.

The military spends five times as much on Viagra as it would on transgender troops’ medical care.”

And for something more hopeful:

An experiment, recounted in comic form: If you put rats alone in cages, they’ll addict themselves to morphine. If you put them in an enriching environment with a bunch of other rats to hang out with, they’ll avoid it.

Gisella Perl, the “Angel of Auschwitz” — who got that title by providing abortions, so the Nazis wouldn’t have pregnant Jewish women to experiment on.

“As what was thought to be the largest referral service in the country, which referred an estimated half million women for abortions in its six years of existence, the [Clergy Consultation Service] had significant market power that it leveraged to reduce the going rate for an abortion.” The name isn’t a euphemism. It was literally a coalition of Protestant and Jewish religious leaders.

“Intersex advocates are rejoicing at a paper released by three former US Surgeons General. The surgeon-generals called for an end to forced medical surgeries on young intersex people.

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A woman’s place is in the Resistance January 23, 2017

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Crowd estimates for the Women’s March on Washington are running to half a million people in DC alone.

Add in the rest of the companion marches in the US — from those with handfuls of people to those (including Boston’s) that joined DC in the six figures — and we’re talking 3 million, total. That’s one percent of the population of the country.

Swing Left: a guide to the most-contested House districts in 2018. Check your area for campaigns to support.

And take a fresh look at how your state stands on the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact. A bunch of new legislatures are working on it since the last time I checked! As of January 2017, bills are pending in Arizona, Connecticut, Florida, Kansas, Maine, Minnesota, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Mexico, South Carolina, Texas, and Virginia.

Old news, still worth sharing: Six record-breaking, history-making women who did get elected in November. All minorities, all Democrats, and the ones who are natural-born citizens might have the White House in their future. Keep your eyes on them.

Final note, some good news from outside the country: Finland is doing a trial of Universal Basic Income. We’ll see how it goes.

Fun Things To Do Over Your Weekend July 25, 2015

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(1) Sign this petition to have the United States recognize the KKK as a domestic terrorism organization. (It is shameful that we haven’t done this already.)

(2) Do a few of these things suggested by the Brady Campaign. They’re fighting the good fight against the US’s gun problem, against a coalition of weapons dealers who are hell-bent on making it easier to sell things.

(3) Pick up the facts about the death of Sandra Bland, who was jailed for three days because she failed to signal a lane change and then found mysteriously dead in her cell. Be horrified. Look for local protests. If you’re in the Massachusetts area, there’s one in Boston this Tuesday.

(4) Read this essay, written from experience, about how medical care is frequently icky and uncomfortable. And don’t let people demonize Planned Parenthood on the grounds that, in the process of providing medical care, they do things that are icky and uncomfortable.

(5) Ask your representative to co-sponsor the Save Oak Flat Act. An eleventh-hour addition to the end of a “must-pass” military spending bill traded 2400 acres of Arizona federal land to a foreign mining corporation — including a sacred site for local Apache tribe members. Because why would the US waste an opportunity to screw over Native Americans for profit?

(6) On a brighter note, celebrate that workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation is officially illegal across the country. Not even because of a new law — but because the EEOC ruled that it falls under the jurisdiction of the 1964 Civil Rights Act! (Because you can’t discriminate based on sex, and we’re finally acknowledging that that’s what’s happening if you’d fire a woman for dating a woman, but wouldn’t fire a man for the same reason.)

(7) All of the above is US-based stuff, so here’s something that’s hopefully doable anywhere: browse the free-to-download section on the Big Finish website, and help yourself to whatever looks good.

Look, if you can’t make rent without working 10-hour days 7 days a week, your minimum wage is too low November 23, 2014

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“Housing [chronically homeless adults] led to dramatic cost savings that more than paid for the cost of putting them in decent housing, including $1.8 million in health care savings from 447 fewer ER visits (78% reduction) and 372 fewer hospital days (79% reduction). Tenants also spent 84 fewer days in jail, with a 72% drop in arrests.

“It gets even worse for the GOP when you consider that 9 out of the 12 states seeing faster growth are those that set their minimum wages to rise with inflation.

“A screen that OSHA said would have prevented workers from falling into the sugar hopper was removed 13 days before Salinas’ accident.

“There are other examples. We talked last year, for example, about Minnesota and Wisconsin – two similarly sized states with comparable populations […] The former raised taxes, the latter cut taxes. Which state is better off now? Take a wild guess.

“Gender-specific markups mean that in California, women were paying about $1,350 more than men a year for the same products before the state banned gender pricing. Women’s deodorant, for example, costs 30 cents more per ounce on average than men’s even when the only difference is the scent. Women also get charged more for haircuts, dry cleaning, and other beauty products like razors.”

“She was sent last Sept. 9 to the emergency room at St. Mary’s Hospital, which was out of her insurance network, instead of to Meriter Hospital, three blocks away, which was covered by her insurance. It’s the difference between a $1,500 maximum out-of-pocket expense and the now-$50,000-plus she’s facing in bills.

State-by-state map of working hours needed at minimum wage to afford rent. It’s at least 70 hours a week, or 10 hours a day every single day, in all states but 2 (Arkansas and Montana).

Dear white people…we’ll just assume you have tickets. November 2, 2014

Posted by Erin Ptah in Erin Watches, Meta.
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Went to see Dear White People in the theater, with some people from a local anti-racist group — for reference, it was about 5-6 of us white, 3 black, and 2 Asian.

We got seats in the theater concessions area afterward to talk about it. A similar-sized group, but with more black/brown people, ended up sitting next to us…and one of the staffers came up and asked if they had tickets. (This isn’t in the lobby, this is *past* the point where they *take* your ticket.) Our much-whiter group had been hanging around longer — none of us had bought any food, either — and still, nobody ever asked if we had a right to be there.

So that was topical.

As for the movie — for reference, here’s a trailer:

We liked a lot of things about it. Were meh about others. Spoilers follow:

(more…)

The woman who saved the space program, the woman who was the Nazis’ most wanted person, the woman who chartered a bank in 1903, and more September 27, 2014

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“Lamarr wanted to join the National Inventors Council, but was reportedly told by NIC member Charles F. Kettering and others that she could better help the war effort by using her celebrity status to sell War Bonds.” Instead of…coming up with the technology that Bluetooth and wi-fi are based on.

“The three women pictured in this incredible photograph from 1885 — Anandibai Joshi of India, Keiko Okami of Japan, and Sabat Islambouli of Syria — each became the first licensed female doctors in their respective countries.”

“Much of her work was top secret and she was a very private person – she actively avoided the press. Barely anyone knew about what she did for the space programme. It was only at her funeral did her colleagues begin to share her story. ‘Mary [Sherman Morgan] single-handedly saved America’s space programme,’ he said, ‘and nobody knows but a handful of old men.’

Maggie Walker: first woman of any race to charter a bank in the US. As the daughter of a former slave. In 1903.

Antoinette Perry: the actress and director after whom the Tony Awards are named. Started acting in 1905; got into directing in 1928.

Martha Gellhorn: “Women weren’t allowed to serve in combat in those days – that restriction wouldn’t be lifted until 50 years later, in 1994. So how did a female slip through the cracks and land on the beaches with the boys in uniform? Two reasons — she was a journalist, and she was a stowaway.”

Nancy Wake: the Gestapo’s most-wanted person, parachuting, recruiting, taking command of battles, killing an SS sentry with her bare hands, and generally earning that 5-million-franc price on her head.

“Preparing the animators’ vision for camera required the inking and painting of thousands of fragile, combustible cels with perfect refinement. During Snow White, it was not at all unusual to see the ‘girls’—as Walt paternalistically referred to them—thin and exhausted, collapsed on the lawn, in the ladies’ lounge, or even under their desks. ‘I’ll be so thankful when Snow White is finished and I can live like a human once again,’ Rae wrote after she recorded 85 hours in a week.

A bunch of tales of egregious race and gender BS. With studies! August 6, 2014

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“Haven’s inconsistent enforcement of the dress code makes girls ’embarrassed,’ because those who are more developed often get singled out. The experience of 12-year-old Lucy Shapiro supports this. She tells the story of when both she and her friend were dressed in athletic shorts, but only Shapiro was ‘dress-coded.'”

“Allen, now 32, said she was stunned when her supervisor at the Hobby Lobby store in Flowood, Mississippi, told her she would be terminated for taking unpaid time off to have her baby.

“1. Random Stranger: (Takes Rhys’ hand while he’s 1 ft. in front of me)…let’s go find your Mommy!

“When describing a crowd scene, write in the script, ‘A crowd gathers, which is half female.’ That may seem weird, but I promise you, somehow or other on the set that day the crowd will turn out to be 17 percent female otherwise.

“…more often than not, bright girls believe that their abilities are innate and unchangeable, while bright boys believe that they can develop ability through effort and practice.”

A long list of responses to BS MRA arguments, full of numbers and logic and citations.

“And then secondly you have these strangers, for example, coming up to a woman [shopping with a black male friend in a store] and saying, ‘Do you know your husband is black?’

At least 148 women received tubal ligations in violation of prison rules during those five years – and there are perhaps 100 more dating back to the late 1990s, according to state documents and interviews.”

“And they wrote letters saying, I really admire your work. Would you have some time to meet? The letters to the faculty were all identical, but the names of the students were all different.” In an outcome that surprises no one (except possibly certain white men), the letter gets the highest rate of positive responses when it has a white-sounding male name attached.

“A woman who got a 4.0 GPA in high school will only be worth about as much, income-wise, as a man who got a 2.0. A woman with a 2.0 average will make about as much as a man with a 0 GPA.

“Mark Ciavarella Jr, a 61-year old former judge in Pennsylvania, has been sentenced to nearly 30 years in prison for literally selling young juveniles for cash. He was convicted of accepting money in exchange for incarcerating thousands of adults and children into a prison facility owned by a developer who was paying him under the table. […] Some of the juveniles he sentenced were as young as 10-years old.

Researchers avoided using female animals for fear that their reproductive cycles and hormone fluctuations would confound the results of delicately calibrated experiments.” Apparently male animals don’t have hormones! And somehow it never occurred to these scientists that using a non-random sample where half the population has been systematically selected out might also confound their results.

To balance out that last post: Sometimes, people are awesome April 8, 2014

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Both executive orders mirror provisions of the Paycheck Fairness Act, which Congress has twice failed to pass. One would prohibit federal contractors from retaliating against employees who share their salary information with each other. […] The second executive order will instruct the Department of Labor to create new regulations requiring federal contractors to report wage-related data to the government, in the hope that it will hold them more accountable for salary differences based on sex or race.”

“17-year-old Angela Zhang […] has been making headlines recently after taking home a check of $100,000 from the national Siemens science contest, and now it has been suggested that her research could lead to a potential cure for cancer.

“A physics student from Egypt’s Sohag University, Aisha Mustafa, 19, has patented a new type of propulsion system based on quantum theory that she says could propel space probes and artificial satellites without using any fuel.

That one time the US had a lesbian First Lady.

I did not know that the woman who wrote America The Beautiful, Katharine Lee Bates, lived with intimate partner Katharine Coman for twenty-five years. Now I know. Learning!

Ching Shih is getting a miniseries! Next up, in Actual Women Pirates of History Who Deserve To Be On TV: “Jeanne de Clisson, the ‘Lioness of Brittany’ and fearsome pirate queen, stalked the English Channel for French ships from 1343 – 1356.”

Mona Parsons: Ziegfield Follies star, Nazi resistance leader, avoided death by firing squad, walked 125 km barefoot through enemy territory, basically all-around dazzling.

“But why do you feminists get so *angry*?” April 5, 2014

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“When a man set up a fake internet dating profile pretending to be female, he set out to prove a point about how easy women have it when searching for an online match. However, his experiment backfired when – just two hours later – he was forced to delete his account because of an ‘onslaught’ of unwanted attention.

“So I made the OkCupid profile of the Worst Woman on Earth, hoping to prove that there exists an online dating profile so loathsome that no man would message it.” Or: the only proof you will ever need that harassment is not a compliment.

“Teachers are often unaware of the gender distribution of talk in their classrooms. They usually consider that they give equal amounts of attention to girls and boys, and it is only when they make a tape recording that they realize that boys are dominating the interactions.

Leading Men Age, But Their Love Interests Don’t: the graphs.

Pregnant Italian woman in the UK for a work trip, has a panic attack (that she normally takes medication to control, but like 99% of medications, you’re not supposed to take it while pregnant), social workers forcibly sedate her, give her a C-section, and have the baby adopted by a UK family. Didn’t even allow the woman’s family or friends to take care of the kid for her. This is insane.

“But it’s worse to leave a patient without medical care because doctors are afraid of violating the law.”

“In a landmark study, one researcher found that women make the same number of jokes as men — when they’re children. But around age 6, something changes; the number of jokes girls make decreases, and it never evens out again.”

Some pro-choice facts and history for your evening. February 10, 2014

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There is a striking kinship between our movement and Margaret Sanger’s early efforts. […] Like we, she was a direct actionist — a nonviolent resister. She was willing to accept scorn and abuse until the truth she saw was revealed to the millions. At the turn of the century she went into the slums and set up a birth control clinic, and for this deed she went to jail because she was violating an unjust law. Yet the years have justified her actions.” Martin Luther King’s speech in praise of Planned Parenthood.

“So though the fight over Planned Parenthood might be about abortion, Planned Parenthood itself isn’t about abortion. It’s primarily about contraception and reproductive health. And if Planned Parenthood loses funding, what will mainly happen is that cancer screenings and contraception and STD testing will become less available to poorer people.

“The arguments would be endless, but they would be irrelevant to the facts: From the moment I started looking for an abortion, not once did I even consider going through with the pregnancy. Not for one second. It simply was not going to happen. Nothing, and I mean nothing, was going to stop me, and it could have cost me my life.”

“The Old Testament, despite some believers’ insistence to the contrary, does not take a hard line against contraception or abortion. The Bible and the 24 other books that make up the Jewish canon make both direct references and thinly veiled allusions to women using contraception.

“Just two days after Israel’s cabinet approved a new policy extending government abortion subsidies to all women ages 20-33, the staunchly anti-choice Liberty Counsel released an alert entitled, “Stand With Israel Now,” complete with a photograph of Benjamin Netanyahu with Liberty Counsel head Mat Staver.”

Mike Huckabee thinks a substitute for complete health care coverage is for women to ~control~ themselves. Also, why have government safety standards for cars? We would all still be safe if we just exercised the self-control to not drive.

“They’re going to focus on raising taxes on people who get medical care they don’t like rather than protecting the jobs of pregnant women like the Walmart worker fired for carrying a water bottle or the hospital cleaner who was forced onto unpaid leave rather than being allowed a lifting restriction. Or the Albertsons worker whose baby was born prematurely and died after the mother’s request—backed up by doctors’ notes—for light duty was turned down and after she was told to keep working despite being in pain. For these women, Republicans have nothing, not even as the fig leaf preserving the notion that life and women’s health are what motivates their latest anti-abortion push.