Archive for November, 2012

29
Nov
12

Wildly Low-cost Solution to Clearing Afghan Landmines

Wildly Low-cost Solution to Clearing Afghan Landmines.

Found this on “Quieter Elephant.” (One of my favorite Canadians, which isn’t a worthless distinction, given that I’m married to one.)

Beauty born of necessity. Just hoping it gets done, and that it works.

In a almost-but-maybe-not-quite-related story, we watched Blood Diamond last night. A little Spielbergian-sanctimonious at times, but it really changes the way you think about that particular gemstone. Was wondering if it would help anyone in Africa if I took the tiny diamonds out of my ears.

 

27
Nov
12

but what about. . .?

This in my email inbox today:

Stop the House from blocking abortion access for raped soldiers.

This is shocking, even for our U.S. Congress.

If a female employee of the U.S. State Department is raped while serving abroad in Afghanistan, her federal health plan will pay for an abortion should she become pregnant. However if a woman serving abroad as a member of the U.S. military is raped, her military health plan will NOT provide for an abortion if she becomes pregnant as a result of that violent and reprehensible act.

According to a report earlier this year from Mother Jones,1 the Pentagon has an even more drastic policy on access to abortion than the Hyde Amendment which bans the use of federal funds for abortion care unless a woman has been the victim of rape, incest or she could literally die unless she her pregnancy is terminated.

This disparity is so unsettling that the Senate passed out of committee the “Shaheen Amendment” to give women in the military the same rights to affordable reproductive health services as the civilians they protect. But if passed by the full Senate, the extremists in Congress will try to block this proposal from the National Defense Authorization Act when it comes up for a vote in the House. The only way we can hope to stop it is with massive public pushback.

Tell Republicans and anti-choice Democrats in the House: Don’t block abortion access for raped soldiers. Click here to sign this petition automatically.

According to Kate Sheppard’s report in Mother Jones,2 there are 200,000 women serving on active duty in our military and in 2011 alone there were 471 reported instances of rape. But with the Pentagon itself estimating that only 13.5% of rapes are officially reported, that means around 3,500 service members are raped per year.

Women who are serving on military bases abroad can’t simply go to their local Planned Parenthood should they seek an abortion after finding themselves pregnant as a result of rape. And if there hasn’t been a formal finding of rape, a rape survivor in the military can’t even pay to have the procedure done in the medical facility on base. Many women serving in our armed forces are stationed in foreign countries where safe abortion care is not easily obtained outside our military bases. And it may not be possible or affordable for a raped woman soldier to travel to the United States in order to receive the care she needs. Our policies need to be reformed to ensure that women in the military who have been raped have access to the medical care they need.

As Senator Jean Shaheen who introduced the change to this heinous policy explained to Mother Jones, “Most of the women affected here are enlisted women who are making about $18,000 a year. They’re young, they don’t have access to a lot of resources. Many of them are overseas.”

Tell Republicans and anti-choice Democrats in the House: Don’t block abortion access for raped soldiers. Click here to sign this petition automatically.

A handful of Republicans in the Senate realized that protecting rape survivors is not a partisan issue and joined Democrats to pass this bill out of committee and work to provide relief to women in our armed services. But their colleagues in the House will not join them in helping to pass this much needed bill unless we force them to take action. We need to tell Republicans as well as anti-choice Democrats in the House (including the so-called Stupak Democrats who voted against women’s reproductive health in the Affordable Care Act)3 that we cannot let this policy stand.

CREDO is a staunch supporter of a woman’s right to choose and we will continue to work for the repeal of the Hyde Amendment. But until then, even in our polarized Congress which is packed with anti-choice zealots, there are some lines that Republicans and anti-choice Democrats should be very afraid to cross. This is one of them. We cannot stand by and let women serving in the U.S. military be subjected to a stricter standard for abortion access than the already horribly restrictive Hyde Amendment.

Click below to automatically sign the petition:
http://act.credoaction.com/r/?r=6900213&p=military_choice&id=51136-3378633-EUGcOEx&t=10

This is one we can win if enough of us speak out. Thank you for taking action.

Becky Bond, Political Director
CREDO Action from Working Assets

1. House GOP Blocking Abortion Access for Raped Soldiers, Mother Jones, June 13, 2012.
2. ibid.
3. Many Previously Pro-Choice Dems Voted for Stupak Amendment, FiveThirtyEight.com, November 9, 2009
You can click here if you’d like to sign the petition. I think it would be a great thing if you did.

But what I really want to know, is why are so many women soldiers being raped? And why aren’t we doing anything about THAT?????

27
Nov
12

Not usually a flower-art person, but these are absolutely stunning; and that’s even before you think about the time and detail involved in the creation!

ArtStormer

I’m placing my spring bulb order today.  It is one big exercise in delayed gratification.

Anne Ten Donkelaar finds other ways to enjoy the garden.  Her meticulous cutouts are pinned to paper so that they cast gorgeous shadows below.  Fantasy arrangements.  Sumptuous!

Artists website: Anne Ten Donkelaar

View original post

27
Nov
12

russian novella

russian novella.

 

That’s all.

22
Nov
12

cliché thanksgiving thanks

Oldest Son tells me that calling your mom on Mother’s Day to tell her thank you and that you love her is pathetic. That you should thank your mom and tell her you love her just because.

I agree, but I still like it when he calls me on Mother’s Day.

Giving thanks on Thanksgiving is also kind of pathetic — every day should be greeted with thankfulness. As I used to tell my dad when he would complain about getting old:  it beats the alternative.

So in yoga we thank our feet for carrying us through our days, and we thank our hamstrings (Hello, hamstrings!) and our aching backs and our hands for what they carry, and our hearts, for what they carry too.

And when we clean our floors we try to remember to thank the floors and the walls and the roof for keeping us from having to live in the dirt, in the rain.

And when we burn the pumpkin soup (just a little), we try to be thankful for all of the delicious ingredients in that pumpkin soup, and that we have good Calphalon pans so we know they’ll get clean again.

And when our children tease and spar and take 45 minutes to do the dishes we are thankful for their health and spirit, and that they are doing the dishes.

On the day after Thanksgiving 7 years ago I drove with my family to my brother’s for an extended family meal, not having yet told our children that their father and I were going to be divorcing.

Six years ago I cooked Thanksgiving dinner for my children and my almost-ex-husband in some kind of weird (pathetic?) attempt to manufacture for my children some weird version of family, which felt to me more like a completely phony and unsatisfying version of “family”; and a few hours after they left I was curled up on the bed in a fetal position, mourning all of the mistakes I had made and how, despite my best efforts, I did not have the relationship I wanted with my children, much less with myself.

So now what am I thankful for?

Well, that the dark days are over.

That we’ve crossed over to the other side.

That everyone’s fine.

That my back hurts, again, but seems to be getting better, and in a little more than a week we’ll have a new hot tub on our back deck (thanks, mom), and that will hopefully help my back problems, and Husband’s knee problems, besides being a wonderful addition to a life that’s being fully and gratefully lived.

For a life that’s being fully and gratefully lived.

For the physical, mental, intellectual, and emotional health of my friends and family.

For jobs that support us, working for and with people who respect our contributions, for food and shelter and kindness.

For a marriage with a man who is thoughtful, and sensitive, and supportive, and who likes, and loves, me as I do him.

He’s going to be embarrassed that I wrote this. But he is the thing I am most grateful for. And, for whatever weird (pathetic?) reason, I want you all to know.

I have it all.

I am the luckiest person I know.

Thank you.

 

21
Nov
12

why not take advantage of every possible opportunity

to raise our children to think in a “sexist” way.

Today’s opportunity, listed in my neighborhood’s “Community Enrichment Classes” brochure, for youth and their “favorite significant adult.” (INMTU*)

For girls: Sweetheart swirl.

For boys: Competitive Game Fest.

Guess the girls don’t like to play games and is it any wonder men won’t dance.

She looks like she’d like to play.

(Click on the picture to see a sampling of what Bing thinks someone looking for a picture of a “Girl in a Football Uniform” is most likely to be looking for. Wonder if the one has anything to do with the other.)

Sheesh.

*I’m Not Making This Up

20
Nov
12

now isn’t that special

As if it’s not bad enough that adjuncts are bearing half of the teaching load at most community colleges, at ~ 1/4 of the pay.

Good thing they have unions so that their voices can be heard and they can at least exert SOME kind of power over the. . .

Oh, yeah.

Nvm.

(All of the adjuncts in this country should quit. Or we should at least declare a day of protest, or a week. Let’s see how many colleges and universities are unable to meet their obligations to their tuition-paying students. Let’s see whether THAT collective voice can be heard.)




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