Monday, December 22, 2008

Fair & Equal Pay in 2009!

Please go to Women's eNews for a wonderful article
"Fair Pay Springs Back Onto Agenda of NY Lobbyists"
By Alison Bowen WeNews correspondent

New Fair Pay legislation is being proposed for NY State,and this time there is great hope that it will pass!

The Fair Pay Act in New York bill would provide workers back pay along with punitive damages,cover employees who had comparable job titles, not just identical positions, (for instance teaching assistants make less than school janitors). The bill would also outlaw intimidating an employee for disclosing his or her salary to co-workers. (Workers are sometimes fired for revealing their salary to discourage wage comparisons.)
The New York State Assembly has passed this bill twice,but it has not passed the Senate. But now that the Senate is controlled by the Democrats...

Friday, December 19, 2008

Girlfriend battering

Hiram Monserrate a state senator-elect was arrested for allegedly assaulting his girlfriend. What makes this even sadder,is that he worked against domestic violence as a memberof the NYPD. Battery happens across class,race,profession,etc.lines.... Its a (out of ) control issue.

From Julie:

Councilman Arrested On Assault Charges NY1, NY - 51 minutes ago Outgoing Queens City Councilman Hiram Monserrate was arrested this morning for allegedly assaulting his girlfriend. Police were called to Long Island Jewish ...
Quinn Refers Monserrate Case To Ethics, Smith Reserves Judgment New York Daily News, NY - 55 minutes ago Hiram Monserrate, charged with assaulting his girlfriend this morning, falls into a weird elected-official purgatory with one foot out the door of the City ...

Monserrate Still at Precinct, Smith Has No Comment New York Observer, NY - 1 hour ago by Jimmy Vielkind on December 19, 2008 ALBANY—State Senator Malcolm Smith is not commenting on news that his fellow Queens Democrat and soon-to-be-colleague ...
Smith has no comment; public officers’ law Albany Times Union, NY - 2 hours ago Senate Democratic Leader Malcolm Smith has no comment about the the arrest of Senator-elect Hiram Monserrate, according to Smith spokesman Austin Shafran. ...
A Controversy Magnet New York Daily News, NY - 2 hours ago Senator-elect Hirram Monserrate appears to have a hard time keeping his anger in check. A reader reminds me that Monerrate, a former NYPD officer, ...
Trouble For Former “Gang Of Four” Member Politics on the Hudson, NY - 2 hours ago New York City Councilman and Senator-elect Hiram Monserrate has been arrested for allegedly attacking and cutting his girlfriend with a broken bottle, ...,0,57463.story


A suggestion has been made that for 2009 the issues group meet as a book group-- to monthly read and discuss a political book,fiction and non-fiction.
If this idea is of interest, please respond. If you have a book suggestion list it in your response...

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Thanks to Palin

Katha Pollitt: Saying good bye to Sarah Palin. . .but realizing what Palin did do for feminists--she took off the table any discussion about women mothering and working (albeit 2 jobs--Governor and VP candidate) Bye Sarah, we hardly knew you but thanks*, but no thanks**.

*for being a working mother
**for not being our VP-Elect

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Election Day 2008


Help usher in CHANGE.

And, its never too soon to start grooming women candidates for the future...we are 51% of the population and in Ulster County are the majority of registered Democrats, we should have some parity in representation!

Friday, October 31, 2008


I received this from two members (Hi Sheila & LK):


Subject: Live webathon of your letters today

Dear Respondents to Women Against Sarah Palin,
We are excited to announce that today between 1 and 9pm (EST), there will be a live webathon broadcast of your letters.
As many of you know, in the past two months we have received nearly 200,000 letters from women all over this country, letters which have articulated your fury, dread, and outrage at John McCain's cynical and gravely dangerous vice-presidential pick.
We have posted thousands of those letters on our website, and today, female performers will read more than 600 of your letters live. This will be broadcast on the website Women Respond to Palin , as well as our website , and will be available on YouTube later tonight. You can also embed the webathon on your own website if you have one.
Please tune in to watch this remarkable live event today, and send this email to your friends and family to further spread the word at this urgent moment, that the McCain/Palin ticket is wrong for American women, and wrong for our country as a whole.
Thank you all so much for your voices and support. We're almost there!
Lyra & Quinn
PS -- Here are the links again:
Women Respond to Palin -
Our website (Women Against Sarah Palin) -

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Catherine MacKinnon

Catherine MacKinnon noted legal scholar and feminist (she worked with Andrea Dworkin against pornography, she believes that women's equality trumps free speech--for how can there be free speech without equality) endorsed Obama in the Wall Street Journal (!). She writes, in short, that he is the choice to protect women's rights, to gain equal pay; Obama is the way for legal and social equality. Here is the link:

Gwendolyn Mink at Marist Friday

News from Public Affairs
For Release:
TIM MASSIE (845) 575-3171DR. JOANNE MYERS (845) 575-3000, EXT. 2234
MARIST TO HOST 17TH ANNUAL WOMEN AND SOCIETY CONFERENCEPOUGHKEEPSIE - Marist College will host the 17th annual Women and Society Conference October 24-25 in Fontaine Hall on the Marist campus.Women and Society is an academic conference covering all aspects of women and gender currently under study. Among the topics to be discussed this year are "Gendered Depictions of Teachers in Film and Television," "Economic Rights and Citizenship," "Rebuilding After the Crash: Female Citizenship and the New Deal," "The Report on the Status of Black Women and Girls," "Invisible Wounds, Invisible Abuse: the Exclusion of Abuse in Newspaper Articles," and "Recording Herstory: How to Do a Quality Oral 'His/Her' Story Interview."The conference keynote speaker is Gwendolyn Mink, a writer and commentator on U.S. politics and on law and social policy affecting race, gender, and class inequality. Mink will discuss "Women's Work, Mother's Poverty: Are Men's Wages the Best Cure for Women's Economic Insecurity?" on October 24 at 8 p.m. in the Nelly Goletti Theatre, located on the third floor of the Marist Student Center. Mink is currently working on a biography of her mother, the late Patsy Takemoto Mink, who, in 1964 became the first woman of color elected to the U.S. Congress, representing Hawaii in Congress for 24 years. Congresswoman Mink was the author of the Title IX Amendment of the Higher Education Act, which prohibits discrimination based on sex in any educational program receiving federal financial assistance.There will be a pre-conference screening of the movie "They Call Me Muslim" on October 23. The film will be shown at 6:30 p.m. in the Black Box Theatre in Fontaine Hall. It explores the lives of two women, one in France and another in Iran, who struggle with the decision whether or not to wear a veil. A discussion following the film will be moderated by Dr. Jerusa Ali, visiting assistant professor of political science at Marist.The film and keynote address are free and open to the public. For registration and further information, contact conference coordinator Dr. JoAnne Myers, assistant professor of political science and co-director of Women's Studies at Marist, at, or (845) 575-3000, ext. 2234. A conference schedule is available online at
For further information, call the Marist College Office of Public Affairs at (845) 575-3174.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

McCain v Women

Senator McCain revealed last night how much disdain he has for women--his statement with airquotes that {some} abortion's are just for the "health of the mother" implies he thinks that it is a ruse that women's health (and life) might trump the life of a fetus....does he think that women are just wombs, vessels that carry fetuses to term?

[As one husband put it, when faced with his wife dying or his fetus, he said without his wife the fetus (if it survives) would have no mother and with his wife alive there will be a chance for further children in the future.]

And on equal pay what he says and what he does are two very opposite things:

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Pay attention: go get your boobs squashed in a mamography machine. Perform (or have someone your love perform) breast exams monthly.
So says Jam who is BREAST CANCER FREE --okay, and also, breast free :) ....

Monday, September 29, 2008

On The Issues

Here is the website of one of the most progressive magazines on women's issues (and thus, imho, human issues):

Sunday, September 28, 2008

In support of Good Medical Practices

On behalf of Governor Paterson and the State of New York, Health Commissioner Richard F. Daines, M.D. this week submitted comments to HHS Secretary Michael O. Leavitt urging the immediate withdrawal of these proposed regulations.

Commissioner Daines said: “Professional standards of medical practice recognize the right of providers to refuse to provide abortion or sterilization services on religious or moral grounds, but they also require providers to assume the responsibility to assure patients access to information and services. The regulations proposed by HHS will disrupt that balance and deprive women of medically necessary health care. In an emergency situation, the consequences could be devastating.”

The proposed regulations were published on Aug. 26.

From: Richard F. Daines, M.D.
Commissioner of Health 9-26-08

Hon. Michael O. Leavitt Secretary United States Department of Health and Human Services Office of Global Health Affairs 200 Independence Avenue, SW, Room 639H Washington, DC 20201

Re: Provider Conscience Regulation
Comments on Proposed Federal Rule: 45 C.F.R. Part 88 73 Federal Register Aug. 26, 2008

Dear Secretary Leavitt:

This is in response to the request for public comment on proposed
45 C.F.R. Part 88, which seeks to implement and clarify the provider conscience provisions of the Church Amendments, the Public Health Service Act, and the Weldon Amendment. After review of the proposal and its likely impact on women’s health care services and their costs, we conclude that implementation of the rule will impede access to quality care and create unnecessary and costly paperwork.

The proposed regulations do not clarify the federal statutes. Rather, they create confusion and leave critical elements open to broad misinterpretation, while providing no protections to ensure that consumers have adequate access to needed health care. They would disrupt access to legal health services, deny timely lifesaving measures and critical care, impede the ability of practitioners and health care entities to comply with current standards of medical practice, and create unnecessary administrative burdens. For these reasons, New York State respectfully requests withdrawal of the proposed rule.

The proposed rule is overbroad, ambiguous and upsets the balance between the rights of providers and the rights of patients.

The proposed rule goes far beyond the federal statutes by expanding its application in two critical ways. First, it appears to permit individuals to refuse to provide care because of personal objections of any nature; and second, it expands the group of employees who may exercise the right to refuse.

In Section 88.1, the regulations outline the proposed rule’s purpose in a manner that expands protection for religious and moral convictions to include the “rights to refuse to perform health care services to which [employees] may object for religious, moral, ethical, or other reasons.” (Emphasis added). The proposed regulation would allow employees and volunteers in federally funded health care settings to refuse to participate in “any part of a health service or research activity,” including providing treatment, information or even referral services, if participating would violate their beliefs.

As a result of this expansion, employers will feel compelled to acquiesce to a wide range of objections or risk legal action or loss of federal funding. Such objections could include participation in implementing end-of-life decisions made by patients and families, aggressive pain management, transfusions, vaccination, HIV/AIDS treatment, infertility treatment, treatment of sexually transmitted diseases and stem cell research. Moreover, the regulation is broad enough to allow workers to refuse services to individual patients or groups of patients whose lifestyles they consider objectionable, such as illegal immigrants, drug and alcohol users, and gay and transgendered individuals. In seeking to prevent discrimination against objecting providers, this rule may inadvertently encourage discrimination against broad classes of health care consumers.

The most likely impact of the rule’s apparent overbreadth is on the provision of women’s reproductive services. While the Health and Human Services Administration has appropriately removed the previous objectionable abortion definition in Section 88.2, the absence of a medically acceptable definition for abortion and sterilization creates ambiguity as to which additional family planning or reproductive health care services are covered. For example, it remains unclear whether providers will be able to refuse to prescribe contraception.

Of additional concern are the new categories of workers who will be able to refuse to participate in practices to which their connection is remote. Section 88.1 and the corresponding supplemental information newly defines “assist in performance” and “workforce” to include anyone connected in any capacity to the health care practice at issue, including, for example, individuals who clean instruments. It will be costly and difficult for hospitals, clinics and private practices to determine whether any particular objecting worker is entitled to the accommodations this rule requires.

Current medical practice standards strive to strike a balance between the rights of the provider and the patient. The ambiguity of this rule will tip the balance away from the needs of the patient. While professional standards of practice support a provider’s right to refuse to provide abortion or sterilization when those services violate moral or religious beliefs, they also require that a provider assume the responsibility to assure patients access to information and services. This balance is widely recognized in the modern American medical community and is a fundamental component of professional practice standards of provider organizations across the country. See, e.g., the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology Committee Opinion Number 385, November 2007. See also American Medical Association Code of Medical Ethics: Opinions on Practice Matters, E-8.08 Informed Consent.

The rule makes no provisions for emergencies.

We are particularly concerned that the regulations do not include exceptions or accommodations for emergency medical procedures, such as those recognized by the federal Medicaid program. For example, Medicaid will cover the costs of an abortion when “on the basis of [the physician’s] professional judgment, the life of the mother would be endangered if the fetus were carried to term.” 45 C.F.R. § 441.203. No such protection exists here. We believe that without including explicit exceptions, women’s lives could be jeopardized by promulgation of these regulations in their current form. We are concerned and troubled that a woman with an ectopic pregnancy may have to track down a willing provider so that she can get appropriate treatment before it is too late. Similarly disturbing is the prospect that a woman who has been raped may be refused emergency contraception and turned away without assistance to find and obtain it.

Implementation will be administratively burdensome and expensive.

The proposed certification process will create an administrative burden for providers, grant awardees and other sub-recipients receiving federal funds. Recipients of federal funds will find it difficult to certify compliance for themselves and for their sub-recipients, given the rule’s ambiguities. Moreover, the paperwork involved is unnecessary and costly. The certification requirement will make health care more expensive at a time when government should be directing scarce health care dollars to improving health care quality and access.

The cost-benefit analysis performed by the Department of Health and Human Services is inadequate. While it has estimated a cost of $44.5 million for the certification program, this amount represents only part of the picture. The scrupulous provider, attempting to comply with this ambiguous rule, will need legal counsel to determine its application. Employers will have to apply the provisions broadly and engage additional staff in close cases. There will be costly litigation. None of these expenses will improve the quality of health care. The American people have made clear that improved health care and broader access are goals of paramount importance. The wastefulness that will be caused by implementation of this rule is a step in the wrong direction.

In conclusion, the proposed rule is likely to cause irreparable harm to women, ignores current standards of good practice, is unnecessary and costly and creates confusion in the health care system. As indicated above, New York requests that the Secretary withdraw the proposed rule.

Very truly yours,

Richard F. Daines, M.D.
Commissioner of Health 9-26-08

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Blink, blink, Do not Think

That seems to be Palin's motto if we listened/watched her interview with Charlie Gibson this week:, and

And, today's NYT editorial summed it up well--we need a leader who can think, who has experience in this w world

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Palin:Not good for our children and other living things

Sarah Palin might not be healthy for our children and other living things:
Sarah Palin does not believe in sex education. "Explicit sex-ed programs will not find my support" This is NOT about Bristol Palin's pregnancy, but about the HEALTH of teens having unprotected sex: 1 in 4 American Girls (and the studies only studied girls, not the boys) have an STD.
This goes hand in hand with her stand on NO abortion EXCEPT if the mother's life is in danger. Thus, (young) females who are impregnated by family or stranger rapes will carry the pregnancy to term according to Palin's beliefs: punish the victim! 25%of rapes result in pregnancy,btw.
She is also not for giving our children a good education--she believes that creationism is a valid theory and should be taught in our public schools; and that books banning books is an okay practice in a democracy.

Palin's environmental creds are very questionable: not only does she NOT believe in the human cause of global warming, she advocated voting down a state proposition that would have banned metal mines from discharging pollution into salmon streams; she signed into being laws that let oil and gas companies nearly triple the amount of toxic waste they can dump into Cook Inlet (an important fishery). So, along with her "drill, baby, drill" energy policy ( and tho' she mouthed the words alternative energy at the convention, as governor she actually vetoed a wind energy project's funding).

Monday, September 1, 2008

A lag of ONLY 24 years

Saturday morning I was on the Cape. My cell phone rang; it was a reporter from the Poughkeepsie Journal wanting my reaction to McCain's announcement of Sarah Palin as his running mate.
I told the reporter that i did not know here,BUT vice presidential candidates in the past have only had at most a plus or minus 2% impact--the minus 2% was for Nixon's choice of Spiro Agnew,the plus 2% was for the FIRST major party choice of Geraldine Ferraro to run on Mondale's ticket in 1984.
And, as of today, news surveys have shown NO significant movement of voters towards the McCain camp.
While we may may more attention to who the vice presidential candidate is, credit Cheney for this, I do not believe that Palin will have the desired affect.
Palin will not attract women voters--she is NOT a feminist by any stretch of the imagination. Just because she is a woman,does not mean women will vote for her. Women are not monoliths that McCain, and other men, think we are.
She does solidify McCain's conservative religious right camp more than he does. The Evangelicals are ecstatic!

Here is NOW's statement re:Palin

Monday, July 28, 2008


Yesterday I did a workshop on Feminism and Eleanor Roosevelt for the Eleanor Roosevelt center at Val Kill's Girls Leadership Workshop (GLW)--28 bright, vibrant, up to any challenge young women from around the globe.
We spent a lot of time talking about equality. They were all taken aback that women are not paid the same as males for the same jobs. Women make on average 76 cents to the male dollar--that is white women--women of color make less: black women make 62 cents, Latinas make 53 cents. And, at the rate we are going since the Equal Pay Act was passed in 1963, it will be another 47 years or so before pay equity may be achieved because the act is NOT enforced. And even when it is enforced we have found that there are other obstacles.
Most notably the recent failure in the Senate of the Lilly Ledbetter Equal Pay Act. The bill was written to correct for last year's punitive (re)reading of the EEOC laws (See Ledbetter V Goodyear Tire Co): employees have to act within 120 days of the first instance of discrimination even if they are not aware of said discrimination until years later.
Pay equity seems very far away.

Especially when women are supporting their families--today even in dual parent households two incomes are necessary to make ends meet. Mike Hein called households in Ulster County with incomes of $50-60,000 the working poor--especially in light of the high cost of gas, home heating oil, and the increasing cost of food (not to mention medicine and health care).

How women came to be paid less than males is rooted in our capitalistic and patriarchial society. In the 1890s when the concept of working wages for families were first introduced, the focus was on the male "breadwinner's" wage--he was suppose to earn enough to support his family or his potential family. Women in the workforce where only earning supplementary monies--pin money. Overtime this working wage has gotten translated into the minimum wage. (Holly Sklar has a good website on the real cost of minimum wage--
It is rooted in our glorification of capitalism--business must make a profit, if the cost of supplies are too high, the cost of labor is what can be cut to ensure profits. This glorification of capitalism does so without holding the businesses responsible to be good citizens--paying their fair share of taxes, for instance; or turning record profits on the backs of consumers and employees.

So, what can we do? Part of the campaign is to make women and men aware of the disparity. Another is to give women a political voice--we already know that there are more women democrats than male democrats in Ulster County; we need more women in elected and appointed office.

We need to grow women leaders!

Friday, July 25, 2008

Monday, July 21, 2008

Ideology vs Reality

Ideology should not trump reality, truth, medical soundness and a woman's right to control her reproduction:

1. A 2005 South Dakota law that is being challenged in court requires doctors to read a script to women seeking abortions--even though some of the statements in said script are false and medically unproven:
The abortion will terminate the life of a whole, separate, unique, living human being;
The pregnant woman has an existing relationship with that unborn human being and that the relationship enjoys protection under the United States Constitution and under the laws of South Dakota;
By having an abortion, her existing relationship and her existing constitutional rights with regards to that relationship will be terminated.”
The law also requires physicians to provide “a description of all known medical risks of the procedure and statistically significant risk factors to which the pregnant woman would be subjected, including depression and related psychological distress” and “increased risk of suicide ideation and suicide.”
The patient must sign each page of the state’s required messages, certifying that she understands them.
questions she asks or explanations she seeks, as well as the physicians’ responses, must be placed in writing and added to her permanent medical record.
A violation of the law is a Class 2 misdemeanor, punishable by 30 days in jail and/or a fine of $500.
[Italics, mine for emphasis.]
I must've missed something in all my readings of the U.S. Constitution. . .

As for the court challenge: on Monday the South Dakota District Court deferred a decision on a request for a preliminary injunction in the case of PPMNS v Rounds until the court has an opportunity to review all of the evidence and arguments developed and presented (Guess they are slow readers in SD!).

I guess the law makers in South Dakota do not think that the women in their state can think, and need to be protected from making a decision about their own bodies, even if it means doctors have to lie to them in order to protect them. . .

2. Meanwhile, back at the duderanch that is the WhiteHouse, the HSS ruling that changes the definition of some forms of contraceptives from birth control (including pills that do not allow for the fertilized egg to be impanted in the uterus, IUDs and emergency contraception) into abortions, and thus, not fundable by the federal government has caused Senator Clinton to write a response:

Gendered Pay Gap

Many people disparage the very gendered pay gap--saying things for instance that women choose the lower paying jobs, that women put their family and hobbies (!) in front of better pay--hmmm one would think that better pay would be good for families. . .
Here is an article which refutes those claims:

Friday, July 18, 2008

Proposed Funding Ruling

The Bush administration is proposing that all healthcare providers receiving federal aid will certify that they will not refuse to hire nurses and other providers who object to abortion and even certain types of birth control (because certain people are defining the beginning of life from when an egg meets sperm). This is one more step away from healthcare providers really providing healthcare for women.
On the flip side, is there support for the children thus conceived so they may have a productive life--you know adequate pre-natal care, healthcare, child care, education???
Under the draft of a proposed rule, hospitals, clinics, researchers and medical schools would have to sign "written certifications" as a prerequisite to getting money under any program run by the Department of Health and Human Services.

Voice your opinion directly to the Sec. of HSS:
HHS Secretary Mike Leavitt . Contact Information
Office Phone: 202-690-7000
Email: Fax: 202-690-7203
Correspondence Secretary: 202-690-6392
(Outside of the DC/metro area call tollfree 877-696-6775 -- ask to be transferred to the Secretary's office.)

Monday, July 14, 2008

NYS Domestic Violence Law

Finally NYS domestic violence law is going to cover date battery (before that was considered the same as if a stranger committed battery--not recognizing the intimate relationship).
To read more:
NEW YORK REGION July 10, 2008 Albany to Expand Domestic Violence Law to Include Dating Relationships By DANNY HAKIM The new law would make it possible for people in dating relationships, heterosexual or gay, to seek protection from abusers in family court.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Sexism in the Media

See clips from the Women's Media Center June 17th conference: From Soundbites to Solutions:Bias, Punditry and the Press in the 2008 Election

Annie Katz

I have just found out that Annie Katz (Accord) passed. She was a true patriot working to help her town, county, state and country live up to the principles we were founded on. It was Annie who was responsible for all those "IMPEACH" signs that grace our front yard and others across the county.

Feminists Are Needed

This past weekend I did a workshop on Feminism and Eleanor Roosevelt (ER)for the first session of GirlsLeadership Workshop, one of the premier programs at the Eleanor Roosevelt Center at ValKill. Of these 29 young women from around the globe, only 6 identified as feminists, most were "I am not a Feminist But I believe that women should have [equal rights, pay equity. . .].

ER herself did not support women's right to vote until her husband did--she was at that point still the perfect Victorian wife--supporting her husband's ventures and popping out 6 children in 10 years. BUT when she did support women's rights, she did so with gusto--calling herself a feminist,too.
Feminists are still much needed--there is still not pay equity, adequate and affordable childcare and eldercare, women's reproductive healthcare is threatened, in some states fetuses will have more rights than the woman whose carrying them, violence against women--from rape to battering to murder-- is still out of control. . .

This is from today's collection of articles on Alternet

Thursday, July 10, 2008


From Lilly Ledbetter at the National Women's Law Center

Have you ever been paid less than you were worth? Lilly Ledbetter Please take a moment to tell us about your experiences.

For months now, I have been traveling the country, speaking about the importance of passing the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act. I never dreamed I'd see a bill in Congress with my name on it — but sometimes in life the totally unexpected happens. After all, I also never imagined that I would be paid less than my co-workers — just because I'm a woman.
Ever since the story of my Supreme Court case, Ledbetter v. Goodyear Tire and Rubber Co ., started getting picked up in the news, I've been hearing stories from women of all ages about their own experiences with pay discrimination. For example, I met a doctor who sued her hospital when she learned that two male physicians were making more than she was — even though she had more responsibility than them. That hospital has changed how it works now.
I'm from Alabama, and I originally thought that the problems I'd encountered at work were mostly a Southern thing. Well, that couldn't have been further from the truth. The women I'm meeting are from all across the country with all types of jobs and degrees. I've met coaches, factory workers, doctors, and professors who have told me how much it means to them that I'm speaking out. And they've shown me that it doesn't matter how much education you have or how good you are at your job. Pay discrimination happens to all types of people.
My story has already been told and retold. But now, we need other women's stories to come to the surface.
Sometimes, in Washington, D.C., the policy process can seem distant from the real people it affects. We have to remind our lawmakers that this is an issue that matters to all of us.
If you've ever experienced pay discrimination, or any kind of workplace discrimination, please tell us your story . We may then follow up with you to ask if we can use your story when we're talking to lawmakers.
If you haven't been subject to discrimination yourself, we'd still like to hear your thoughts on why workplace discrimination is such a problem for women .
Thanks again for everything you've already done to help us in this struggle.
Lilly Ledbetter
P.S. Please forward this e-mail widely to your co-workers, neighbors, and friends. The more true stories we can collect, the better our odds of making a difference.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Voting machines

From Andi Novick:
I am writing to those of you who have shown some interest in stopping theft-enabling voting machines and hoping you will give some time or support to this major campaign to sue the State and have concealed software-driven voting machines declared unconstitutional. Sorry for those who I've taken too long getting back to- it was a lot of work to prepare a legal complaint, but it's done. To those of you who didn't offer to help, you're on here because I think you do have an interest and an ability to help get the word out. Here's a two page synopsis of the legal complaint LitigationSummary.pdf (also found at our blog spot, New York VOTERS v. NY State and the State Board of... ) I'm going to be sending a mass email asking people to sign on as plaintiffs. If you would like to be a plaintiff all I'm asking is you agree to take responsibility for circulating the petition I'll be sending (hopefully tomorrow) to many, many people. We want the court to know how serious this issue is and strength in numbers is vital. Each plaintiff should be able to say- I am one person, but I represent 100 citizens, or 1,000 citizens or however many you can get to sign up from your county. Then just keep a list of those from your county, send me the email addresses and when it's time to go to court, try to be there and encourage others to pack the courtroom. A more detailed email will follow up but I wanted to write to you first in the hopes you'd pay more attention and agree to take this part of the campaign on.
And/or we need people who would be willing to post to various blogs and help us get the word out about the lawsuit and what's happening in NY. Here are some very good pieces to help people become informed, but we need to circulate these all over the state. We're working on a list of sites to publish or link to. If you're willing to help with the posting to some sites/blogs that would really help: Here's some articles we should circulate. 1) Eyes Wide Shut, and 2) NY Loves Its Levers as New Systems Fail 3) LET'S CLEAR THE AIR
And we could use readers- those of you who like to surf a bit and find the latest articles- there's a lot of articles in the main stream press re the defective ballot marking devices being delivered to the counties and we need to keep abreast of what's happening out there and circulate that as well. Here are some examples: http://www.poughkeepsiejournal .com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID =/20080627/NEWS01/806270331 /1006 or,0,2675281.story?track=rss or And finally, if any of you know attorneys who might be interested in doing this with me- please send me their names. This labor of patriotism ? is more than one lawyer can do so I'm looking for a few others to handle the army of attorneys that will pile on when we file this suit.

Thanks and please think about taking a piece of this on- it's different than what we normally do in our everyday political work and could have a huge impact. Even without actually prevailing in the litigation ( which I hope we will) lawsuits attract attention and are a good organizing tool. As the ballot marking devices keep coming in defective (see the articles above) the SBOE is going to become increasingly fed up and maybe will return to the federal judge to tell him what we'll be telling a state judge in this lawsuit-- that forcing us to surrender secure functioning lever systems for these pieces of crap (that's what the Commissioner said) is unconstitutional. See the EYES WIDE SHUT piece- this is precisely what's breaking open at the last SBOE meeting. The campaign has to begin and grow now to stop NY before it buys software to count our votes.

Looking forward to hearing from you (and be sure to let me know if you know people in other parts of the state who might be interested).


andi novick
Re-Media Transparency Coalition Northeast Citizens for Responsible Media (Re-Media)

Monday, June 30, 2008

Sixth Amendment Rights Trump Domestic Violence

Seems that if your accuser can not stand in front of you and accuse you of domestic violence, because perhaps she is dead at your hand, well, than you can not cross examine her, and thus, that evidence is not admissible.
The California courts had allowed the murder victim's statements made to the police , that the man accused of murdering her, had threatened to kill her (can we say: domestic violence?). The Supreme Court found that these statements allowed into evidence violated the constitutional rights of the accused murderer. Justice Scalia in the majority opinion (6-3) wrote that use of the statement made to the police violated Mr. Giles’s Sixth Amendment right to cross-examine the witnesses against him, unless the prosecution could first prove that he deliberately killed her to make her unavailable to testify. Mr. Giles claimed he killed her in self-defense.

Giles V California

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Impeachment resolution

Note that Maurice is one of the sponsors. FINALLY!
(this is from Joel Tyner:)
H.RES.1258 Title: Impeaching George W. Bush, President of the United States, of high crimes and misdemeanors. Sponsor: Rep Kucinich, Dennis J. [OH-10] (introduced 6/10/2008 Cosponsors (5) Latest Major Action: 6/11/2008 House floor actions. Status: On motion to refer the resolution Agreed to by the Yeas and Nays: 251 - 166 (Roll No. 401). COSPONSORS(5), BY DATE [order is left to right] Rep Wexler, Robert [FL-19] - 6/11/2008 , Rep Woolsey, Lynn C. [CA-6] - 6/11/, Rep Lee, Barbara [CA-9] - 6/11/, Rep Hinchey, Maurice D. [NY-22] - 6/18/2008 , Rep Baldwin, Tammy [WI-2] - 6/18/2008
[time to call rest of Congress on this-- at (800) 828-0498!...(pass it on)]
In fact...did you know that literally five major polls over the last few years (from Zogby, Newsweek, Ipsos, and American Research Group) have proven repeatedly that the vast majority of us across the U.S. do, in fact, favor Bush/Cheney impeachment?...(media blackout of national sentiment censored for years):
-- July 2007 American Research Group national poll of 1,100 Americans;
-- January 2006 Zogby national poll of 1,216 Americans;
-- October 2005 Ipsos Public Affairs national poll of 1,001 Americans;
-- October 2005 Zogby national poll of 1,200 Americans;
-- October 2006 Newsweek national poll of Americans.
[ made_0706.html ; ; ; ; ]
Also-- well over 100 Dutchess residents have signed on the petition started by yours truly to impeach Mr. Bush (including many prominent Dems from across the county; click on "View Signatures"); join us and !...(pass it on)...
Twelve Reasons to Impeach Bush/Cheney for High Crimes and Misdemeanors Against Constitution
[from David Swanson; click on for much more]
Memo from a January 2003 White House meeting of Bush and Blair at which Bush made clear that the U.S. would go to war with or without the United Nations and proposed various strategems to try to create a justification for war, a report that the CIA had strong evidence before the war that Iraq possessed no weapons of mass destruction, a January, 2003, State Department memo showing awareness that Niger documents were forgeries, a report that Bush was personally informed that the aluminum tubes claims were not supported by the State Department or the Department of Energy and that Iraq was very unlikely to attack the United States, testimony that Bush and Cheney were involved in the leaking of misleading classified information and in a campaign of retribution against Joseph Wilson, Paul Pillar, who was the CIA's national intelligence officer for the Middle East and South Asia from 2000 to 2005, report that facts were fixed to support going to war, top aide to Secretary of State says facts were fixed to support going to war, an Amnesty International report on ongoing torture and unlawful detention. reports that almost 100 prisoners have died in US custody, "State of War" report by James Risen reveals illegal spying and reports on meeting between MI6 and CIA that preceded the Downing Street Meeting in July 2002, "Constitution in Crisis" report by John Conyers summarizing evidence of illegal activities, and Henry Waxman report on 237 Bush administration lies in searchable database...

Anti-feminism on the internet

This is from top ten internet anti-feminist videos.

They are funny, sad and real.

Monday, June 16, 2008

McCain bad for women, bad for human rights

McCain might "love" women, but he does not care about their rights. He skipped the Lilly Ledbetter Equal Pay Act vote, because he said it would just "lead to more lawsuits." He thinks Roe v Wade should be overturned, and that we need a constitutional amendment (!) banning abortions. And, he wants to limit the distribution of contraceptives. . .
See also Frank Rich's column yesterday

Not to mention that his position on torture has changed, and he feels that the recent Supreme Court decision which states that prisoners held on Guantanamo do have habeas corpus rights, i.e. the right to court hearings is wrong.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Power of Democratic Women

In light of discussion of how democratic women in Ulster outnumber the men by 20,000+ to 14000+ here is e-mail was passed on to me from a colleague of mine in Cambridge, MA. about women's power of the vote. While the piece is focused on the number of women who voted for Hillary, the point is well made that Democratic women are the majority of voters, and need to be heard.

We made a huge difference...see below. We are a true power bloc. Please read and pass onto your friends. And, from the bottom of my heart, thank you for all you did to help Hillary.
We are a power bloc – since the DNC and party leaders are ignoring us, we need to be very shrewd and use that power so that they understand – throwing over our candidate is not going to work out for Democrats.
Among all women, Hillary led 51 percent to 43 percent, and from March through May she led 55 percent to 44 percent. Among white women, Hillary leads 61 percent to 34 percent and among Latinas, Hillary leads 58 percent to 25 percent for those states reporting Hispanics in exit polling. among non-African-American women, Hillary led 60 percent to 35 percent, and she led 62 percent to 33 percent among this group in states that voted March through May.
And Hillary brought more women into the process. Women rose from 7.56 million in the 2004 Democratic primaries to more than 21 million in May 2008 – from 54% to 58% of the Democratic primary electorate. In Ohio, for example, women rose from 52% of the Democratic presidential primary voters in 2004 to 59% in 2008.
Here's a chart showing HRC's margin among women in states from exit poll data – in states like Arkansas, Mass, NY, RI, WV, she won more than 60% of the female vote:

Total Vote

% of All
Obama %
New Hampshire
New Jersey
New Mexico
New York
North Carolina
Rhode Island
South Carolina
West Virginia
It is not the critic who counts, not the man who points out how the strong man tumbled, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena; whose face is marred by dust, sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short agian and again; who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions and spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.
Theodore Roosevelt "

Monday, June 9, 2008

A Political Glass Ceiling?

The LATimes has been running a series of "dustups" between young and old feminists,Amanda Marcotte and Katha Pollitt, about the state of women in politics. The first of the series is at,0,3755296.story at the end, click on the subsequent days, 5 in total.

And, from the New Republic

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Is Colorado Crazy?

Colorado's anti-choice/pro-life petitioners have gathered more than enough signatures to ask for an amendment that states defines a fertilized egg as a person be placed on the November ballot. There are many many implications of this potential new definition of person. . . yet another way to make women into just reproductive vessels, subordinate to the fertilized egg within.
Note that other states have similar statutes, shall we say, gestating?

See the analysis at Colorado's Naral website
the National Women's Law Center's blog

Oh, would the pro-lifers pay as much attention to the real children who are born and support adequate health care, child care, education, and living wages!

BTW, even in Roe V Wade (410 US 113, 1973) when Justice Blackmun discussed when a person was formed and then in a following section when one becomes a citizen, a fertilized egg was not "in play" so to speak. First the historical, legal, and theological discussion in Section IV, 3:
. . .
The common law. It is undisputed that at common law, abortion performed before "quickening" -- the first recognizable movement of the fetus in utero, appearing usually from the 16th to the 18th week of pregnancy 20 -- was not an indictable offense. 21 The absence of a common-law crime for pre-quickening abortion appears to have developed from a confluence of earlier philosophical, theological, and civil and canon law concepts of when life begins. These disciplines variously approached the question in terms of the point at which the embryo or fetus became "formed" or recognizably human, or in terms of when a "person" came into being, that is, infused with a "soul" or "animated." A loose consensus evolved in early English law that these events occurred at some point between conception and live birth. 22 This was "mediate animation." Although Christian theology and the canon law came to fix the point of animation at 40 days for a male and 80 days for a female, a view that persisted until the 19th century, there was otherwise little agreement about the precise time of formation or animation. There was agreement, however, that prior to this point the fetus was to be regarded as part of the mother, and its destruction, therefore, was not homicide. Due to continued uncertainty about the precise time when animation occurred, to the lack of any empirical basis for the 40-80-day view, and perhaps to Aquinas' definition of movement as one of the two first principles of life, Bracton focused upon quickening as the critical point. The significance of quickening was echoed by later common-law scholars and found its way into the received common law in this country.
. . .
{But he goes further and states in section IX that}

. . .A. The appellee and certain amici argue that the fetus is a "person" within the language and meaning of the Fourteenth Amendment. In support of this, they outline at length and in detail the well-known facts of fetal development. If this suggestion of personhood is established, the appellant's case, of course, collapses, for the fetus' right to life would then be guaranteed specifically by the Amendment. The appellant conceded as much on reargument. 51 On the other hand, the appellee conceded on reargument 52 that no case could be cited that holds that a fetus is a person within the meaning of the Fourteenth Amendment.

The Constitution does not define "person" in so many words. Section 1 of the Fourteenth Amendment contains three references to "person." The first, in defining "citizens," speaks of "persons born or naturalized in the United States." The word also appears both in the Due Process Clause and in the Equal Protection Clause. "Person" is used in other places in the Constitution: in the listing of qualifications for Representatives and Senators, Art. I, § 2, cl. 2, and § 3, cl. 3; in the Apportionment Clause, Art. I, § 2, cl. 3; 53 in the Migration and Importation provision, Art. I, § 9, cl. 1; in the Emolument Clause, Art. I, § 9, cl. 8; in the Electors provisions, Art. II, § 1, cl. 2, and the superseded cl. 3; in the provision outlining qualifications for the office of President, Art. II, § 1, cl. 5; in the Extradition provisions, Art. IV, § 2, cl. 2, and the superseded Fugitive Slave Clause 3; and in the Fifth, Twelfth, and Twenty-second Amendments, as well as in §§ 2 and 3 of the Fourteenth Amendment. But in nearly all these instances, the use of the word is such that it has application only postnatally. None indicates, with any assurance, that it has any possible pre-natal application.
. . .

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Feminism & Mothering

Amy Richards (co-author of Manifesta) has written a new book Opting In: having a Child Without Losing Yourself which takes on Belkin's reporting on the 'Opt-Out revolution"-- (upper middleclass) young women who are opting out of the workforce to take of baby.
Richard's book takes on the big and small decisions of being a feminist, & being a feminist mom.

Here is an interview with her

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Who can afford the American Dream???

In today's NYTimes Real Estate section (p.3) the apartment down the hall from my old one is for sale---for $745,000 (not counting the monthly charrges of $726)---for a STUDIO apartment, albeit a larger than normal one, but still....WHO can afford that????
Which brings me to the question:
The American dream: Dead or Alive or Modified? See UTNE Reader's series:

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Freedom of Choice

Julie McQuain, President of UCDW wrote in an e-mail the other day that " We have some members who feel UCDW should do more to educate young women about their right to control their own decisions about reproduction, and how that right COULD BE LOST with one new appointment to the Supreme Court.
Already this right is somewhat abstract for the many women who live too far from a clinic or provider to access it in time. "

Each State provides differently for women's right to choose, and their access to abortions. See the map at Some states, such as South Dakota and Florida, are trying to ban access to abortion, other states have biased counseling--Missouri, Florida, for instance.

While New York receives high marks 40--FORTY--Counties do not have abortion providers.

Meanwhile, Pro-life groups--such as the American Life League -- are now coming out of the closet against birth control. They are running campaigns that (mis)state that the birth control pill causes abortions. ALA is planning a June 7th Protest the Pill Day!,,

This upcoming election is very important when it comes to women's rights!

Millie from HealthcareSTAT forwarded this:

Dr. Wicklund's (an abortion provider from MA) book is now available, both new and used, at reduced prices. If you are interested in ordering her book and to also support WAMC Public Radio, log on to, then scroll down on the right to the green area; under Search Amazon, type This Common Secret. Note: Eight percent of the price of any books ordered this way is donated to WAMC by Amazon.

Telling the Stories Behind the Abortions NYT 11.6.07 has an article about Dr. Wicklund

Monday, May 12, 2008


There is a Feminism backlash---more like an anti-women tsunami, if you ask me. Read Katha Pollitt's piece in The Nation, which she wrote after finding out that Phyllis Schafly was receiving an honory degree from Washington University in St. Louis.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Blogs & Politicians

Recently there has been a brief e-mail discussion about what Jeremy Blaber puts up on his blog--my comment is that it is his blog, and reflects his opinions re: news and commentary.

Here is an article from CQ Politics (Congressional Quarterly) on how politicians are trying to tap into the blogosphere.

David Balducci's latest book --The Whole Truth (Grand Central Pub., 2008) is about "perception management" or spinning the truth in the age of the internet & multi media (this goes way beyond Wag the Dog.

The internet has a LOT potential, it holds a lot of information and misinformaiton. The object is learning to critically assess the information.

Monday, April 21, 2008

April 22

Today is both EARTH DAY and Equal Pay Day (the day when women's average wages have caught up what the average male earned in 2007!).

Monday, April 14, 2008

UCDW Annual Meeting

Come network and vote tonight 4/14/09 from 6:30 on at Rive Gauche, Fair St. Kingston (Just down from Dem Hdqtrs)....

Monday, March 31, 2008

A letter from Andi Novick

Dear Friends,

I have written to explain why I am proceeding to sue the NYS legislature for their abdication. My letter can be found at

In the briefest terms I am bringing this lawsuit because when our government fails us as miserably as it has, our system provides that is the judiciary to whom we should turn to stop the legislature from behaving in derogation of its responsibility to protect our constitutional right to vote. Our electoral system has always required a transparent, observable highly safeguarded process to ensure the integrity of our vote. The safeguards, intended to prevent the opportunities for fraud and manipulation, that we have enjoyed for well over a century, will be rendered non existent if we permit our vote counting to be concealed within the unobservable processes of a computer. It doesn't matter what kind of computer, be it a DRE or Optical Scanner, software driven devices have been shown to be highly vulnerable to manipulation without detection.

We know all software driven systems can be manipulated regardless of the level of security provided, but it should be known that the voting systems on the market provide no security as compared to the standards that computers used in financial transactions are subject to. And even with the standards and oversight an institution such as Hannaford grocery stores provides, just this past week millions of us had our credit cards stopped because Hannaford's computers has been hacked. Software was installed on the servers at every one of its grocery stores in 6 states, notwithstanding the firewalls, virus checks and close scrutiny that Hannaford's computers, unlike our voting computers, were subjected to. Hannaford said any single person, a technician for the vendor or a hacker, could have done this. For more on the story see . By the way, Hannaford's computer security did not detect the breach. It was only discovered because fraudulent transactions were being conducted. In the election industry no such mechanisms are in place that would trigger an investigation. We'd never know. What a way to run a democratic electoral system.

The stakes are a lot higher when we're talking about controlling the US treasury, a far more desirable target than our four million or so credit cards that were gotten. And we're talking about nothing less that our sovereignty when voting computers are hacked. We in New York are the only state that has not yet computerized its electoral system. Please ask yourself again what you are willing to do to fight for your freedom before the theft-enabling machines are installed in New York? If you do nothing else write to your newspapers and local media outlets. Demand coverage and investigation. Write to your legislators and send them a copy of my letter linked above. Let them know they should be ashamed of themselves. Write to our new governor, see what he's willing to do. Email me and volunteer to resist and assist.


andi novick Northeast Citizens for Responsible Media (Re-Media)

"The right of voting for representatives is the primary right by which other rights are protected. To take away this right is to reduce a man to slavery, for slavery consists in being subject to the will of another, and he that has not a vote in the election of representatives is in this case." Thomas Paine
Create a Home Theater Like the Pros. Watch the video on AOL Home .

Monday, March 24, 2008

Intelluctualism vs anti-intellectualism

I am in the middle of Susan Jacoby's book The Age of Unreason which is her update of Hofstadter's Anti-intellectualism in American Life. Bill Moyers interviewed her:
Here is the NYT review of the book:
John Dean's comments on Obama's speech on race is a must read. Dean doesn't comment on the content per se, but on the intelligence and eloquence of the speech. Dean goes on to point out that we have been dumbing down America over the past 50 years:

Here is Obama's speech, if you happened to have somehow missed it:

BTW, Here is one of Rev. Wright's so-called incendiary sermon. As I tell my students go to the primary source and make up your own mind:

For some analyses, including Roland Martin's: and

Friday, March 21, 2008

Affordable Housing in Ulster County

Ulster County released a report on Housing Needs for the county Thursday. Note that the numbers are 3 years old and not not reflect the current down turn in the real estate market.

Here is the story from the Daily Freeman:

Here is the report

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Re-scheduled Vigil TONIGHT! 3/20

KINGSTON, NEW YORK (March 10) – A memorial candlelight vigil for slain gay California middle school student Lawrence King will be held Thursday, March 20, in front of Kingston High School, from 6:30 to 7:45 p.m.
On February 12 of this year, King, 15, was shot in the head by a classmate in an Oxnard, California classroom, simply because he was gay. King died two days later, on Valentine's Day. The hate crime has attracted national attention and condemnation from such media figures as Anderson Cooper and Ellen DeGeneres.
The event is expected to draw scores of people from the area, as well as members of prominent human rights and educational organizations. The vigil is co-sponsored by the Hudson Valley LGBTQ Community Center and the Hudson Valley chapter of GLSEN (The Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network).
"The murder of Lawrence King is an American tragedy that cannot be allowed to go unnoticed," said Ginny Apuzzo, president of the Center. "Every student has the right to be safe at school. This vigil is intended to honor the memory of a courageous young man who was killed simply for being himself, and to call attention to the deadly results of looking the other way when homophobia makes itself known in our schools."
The evening program will include addresses by representatives of the Center, GLSEN and the Kingston High School Gay-Straight Alliance, as well as the Rev. Ralph Merante, pastor of the First Presbyterian Church of Kingston. Among the still-growing list of organizations that have joined to support the vigil are PFLAG (Parents, Friends, and Family of Lesbians and Gays) of Kingston, YWCA of Ulster County, the Ulster County Mental Health Association, and Planned Parenthood of the Mid-Hudson Valley.
Calendar Listing: Candlelight Vigil for Lawrence King, in front of Kingston High School, March 20, 6:30-7:45 p.m. Sponsored by the Hudson Valley LGBTQ Community Center and GLSEN Hudson Valley. For more information visit

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Pinching Pennies

Gas prices are soaring, some say to $4/gal by summer--yet public transportation in the Hudson Valley is almost negligible. In Ulster County 49% of the population live outside the "urban" areas. I do not even want to speculate on home heating costs for next year, when crude oil has topped $110 a barrel this week.
Food costs have increased 30% and are climbing. Its a combination of the cost of transporting food, the wheat shortages, and now the push to use corn for ethanol.
The dollar has fallen drastically--foreign vacations are much more costly. Domestically airlines are raising the cost of plane tickets by $50 to offset fuel costs...

So what are we to do to make ends meet? Trust me the resident of the White House is totally out of touch if he thinks that $600 per person or the $1200 per household tax rebate is going to make much of a difference.

I am suggesting that we use this thread to share ideas, resources, etc. Please respond to this post by clicking on comment. I will demonstrate with a website that tracks the cheapest gas prices in NYS.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

The Spitzer Takedown?

or partisan politics at its worst?
This article says it all:

Monday, March 10, 2008

UCDW Core Values & Priority Issues

At tonight's meeting we discussed using the blog to help us identify UCDW's core values and key issues so that we may poll future candidates' on their stances on these values and issues. But first WE need to identify said core values and issues ourselves.

Are there any issues that are "drop dead" issues, as in if a candidate disagrees with one that we do not endorse that candidate? For instance, Eleanor's Legacy only endorses female Democrats who are pro-Choice--male candidates are not funded nor are non-democrats or those who do not take a pro-choice stance.

Please respond in a connected comment to this posting (you will have to sign in to do so).

Here are a few issues/values to start us off with:


Women's rights


Equal pay

Voting Access


(Against) Domestic Violence

Equal Rights

Gay Rights


Social Justice
. . .

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Kingston Vigil for Slain Gay (Ca) Student

PLEASE PASS THIS ON FAR AND WIDE... FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: March 10, 2008 Contact: Craig Burdett (845) 901-6687 Contact: Mary Jane Karger (914) 523-6986

– A memorial candlelight vigil for slain gay California high school student Lawrence King will be held Friday, March 14, in front of Kingston High School, from 6:30 to 7:45 p.m. On February 12 of this year, King, 15, was shot in the head by a classmate in an Oxnard, California classroom, simply because he was gay. King died two days later, on Valentine's Day. The hate crime has attracted national attention and condemnation from such media figures as Anderson Cooper and Ellen DeGeneres. Friday's vigil, on the one-month anniversary of King's death, will mark the first public response to the tragedy in the Hudson Valley region.
The event is expected to draw scores of people from the area, as well as members of prominent human rights and educational organizations. The vigil is co-sponsored by the Hudson Valley LGBTQ Community Center and the Hudson Valley chapter of GLSEN (The Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network).
"The murder of Lawrence King is an American tragedy that cannot be allowed to go unnoticed," said Ginny Apuzzo, president of the Center. "Every student has the right to be safe at school. This vigil is intended to honor the memory of a courageous young man who was killed simply for being himself, and to call attention to the deadly results of looking the other way when homophobia makes itself known in our schools."
The evening program will include addresses by representatives of the Center, GLSEN and the Kingston High School Gay-Straight Alliance, as well as the Rev. Ralph Merante, pastor of the First Presbyterian Church of Kingston.
Among the still-growing list of organizations that have joined to support the vigil are PFLAG (Parents, Friends, and Family of Lesbians and Gays) of Kingston, the Ulster County Mental Health Association, and Planned Parenthood of the Mid-Hudson Valley.
ATTENTION MEDIA: For advance interviews, contact Craig Burdett at (845) 901-6687 or Mary Jane Karger (914) 523-6986. Calendar Listing: Candlelight Vigil for Lawrence King, in front of Kingston High School, March 14, 6:30-7:45 p.m. Sponsored by the Hudson Valley LGBTQ Community Center and GLSEN Hudson Valley.

Bad Meat

Congressman Hinchey is quoted in this article about the USDA & the bad meat (beef) that has made it to market. Hinchey goes to bat for us, asking for a list of those markets, so we the consumers can be well informed. But said list is not forthcoming, it seems its profits over health.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Modern Day Know Nothings

Hugh Reynolds and the Hiberations are modern day Know Nothings when it comes to NYS law and women's right to choose. In 1970 NYS was the first state to legalize elective abortions up to week 24 (Penal Code 125.00). Other states followed our lead--Alaska, Hawaii & Washington.
Roe V Wade made abortions legal in the rest of the country as of January 1973.
If Roe V Wade is unfortunately overturned, NYS would still have legal abortions available.

Hugh Reynolds' column:

Kingston , NY
Sat., Mar. 8, 2008


“City Beat”

GETTING IN STEP – Assemblyman Kevin Cahill, will probably march as usual in Sunday’s 22 nd annual Kingston St. Patrick’s Day [parade], but not with the bright green sash of grand marshal stretched across his belly. The Hibernians’ honor has gone to insurance broker and former Ulster County Legislator John Dwyer, a fellow Kingston Democrat.
Initially nominated grand marshal by Hibernians, Cahill withdrew after some questioned his positions on abortion, divorce and other “Catholic issues.”
A letter to the editor from a Dutchess County Hibernian got the ball rolling. Cahill and his supporters – and there were many within the local organization – questioned why similar standards were not applied to any of the previous 21 grand marshals. The distinction, apparently, was that as a state legislator, Cahill is in a position to cast votes on some of those issues. Should, for instance, the U.S. Supreme Court overturn Roe v. Wade , the Constitutional amendment that legalizes abortion, it would revert to all of the state legislatures.
Cahill, nominated for long service to the local Hibernian unit, graciously stepped aside.
Dwyer, his successor, chose not to revisit a controversy played out in the dead of winter mostly behind closed doors…”
Hugh Reynolds is the Freeman’s political editor. His column appears Monday, Wednesday and Saturday. Readers may write him by e-mail at hreynolds@freemanon

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Sexism in Human Rights

Here is an article from the Toronto Star on the ineffectiveness of the International Criminal Court set up by the Rome Statute in 1992 to prosecute war criminals. Women who are the victims of most war crimes are still the least protected. Partly because of the social and cultural practices, but also because of politics.

Friday, February 29, 2008

Does Obama get a Pass from the media?

Carol Jenkins on Alternet yesterday wrote this column regarding the media's role in the handling the two democratic top runners, especially this past Tuesday's debate (2.26/08) in Clevelan Ohio.

Jenkins does give Brian Williams a passing mark, but I think he did not do his job. He cut Hillary Clinton off for a commercial break when she said Obama did not answer the question regarding his subcommittee on Foreign Relations, Europe that includes jurisiction of NATO, saying they will get back to that question after the break. But after the break--the subject did not get brought up.

Here is the section from the debate transcript from

. . .
CLINTON: And I believe this is in the best interest. But I alsohave heard Senator Obama refer continually to Afghanistan, and hereferences being on the Foreign Relations Committee.
He chairs the subcommittee on Europe. It has jurisdiction overNATO. NATO is critical to our mission in Afghanistan. He's held notone substantive hearing to do oversight, to figure out what we can doto actually have a stronger presence with NATO in Afghanistan.
You have to look at the entire situation to try to figure out howwe can stabilize Afghanistan and begin to put more in there to try toget some kind of success out of it. And you have to...
RUSSERT: All right. Let me...
CLINTON: ... work with the Iraqi government so that they takeresponsibility for their own future.
RUSSERT: Senator Obama, I want you to respond to not holdingoversight for your subcommittee. But also, do you reserve a right asAmerican president to go back into Iraq once you have withdrawn withsizable troops in order to quell any kind of insurrection or civilwar?
OBAMA: Well, first of all, I became chairman of this committeeat the beginning of this campaign, at the beginning of 2007. So, itis true that we haven't had oversight hearings on Afghanistan.
I have been very clear in talking to the American people aboutwhat I would do with respect to Afghanistan. I think we have to havemore troops there to bolster the NATO effort. I think we have to showthat we are not maintaining permanent bases in Iraq because SecretaryGates, our current defense secretary, indicated that we are gettingresistance from our allies to put more troops into Afghanistan becausethey continue to believe that we made a blunder in Iraq. And I thinkeven this administration acknowledges now that they are hampered nowin doing what we need to do in Afghanistan in part because of what'shappened in Iraq.
Now, I always reserve the right for the president -- as commanderin chief, I will always reserve the right to make sure that we arelooking out for American interests. And if al Qaeda is forming a basein Iraq, then we will have to act in a way that secures the Americanhomeland and our interests abroad. So that is true, I think, not justin Iraq, but that's true in other places. That's part of my argumentwith respect to Pakistan.
I think we should always cooperate with our allies and sovereignnations in making sure that we are rooting out terroristorganizations. But if they are planning attacks on Americans likewhat happened on 9/11, it is my job, it will be my job as president tomake sure that we are hunting them down.
WILLIAMS: And Senator, I need to reserve...
CLINTON: No, but I have -- I just have...
WILLIAMS: I'm sorry, Senator.
CLINTON: No, wait a minute. I have to...
WILLIAMS: I've get to get us to a break.
CLINTON: The question was about invading.
WILLIAMS: Television doesn't stop.
CLINTON: Invading Iraq.
WILLIAMS: Can you hold that thought until we come back from abreak? We have limited commercial interruptions tonight, and we haveto get to one of them now. Despite the snowstorm swirling outsidehere in Cleveland, we're having a warm night in the arena.
We'll return to it right after this.
WILLIAMS: And because our first segment went long and we are ina large arena...
... we are just now welcoming back both of our candidates to thestage and asking our cooperation of the audience. We're back livetonight in Cleveland, Ohio.
Senator Obama, we started tonight talking about what could beconstrued as a little hyperbole. It happens from time to time on thecampaign trail.
You have recently been called out on some yourself. I urge youto look at your monitor. We'll take a look.

. . .

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Friday, February 15, 2008

(More) Sexism in the Media

I am reprinting Kim Gandy, NOW President's column on Media & Sexism--she puts forth a great argument about sexism in our society.

Ignorance and Venom: The Media's Deeply Ingrained Sexism
Below the Belt: A Biweekly Column by NOW President Kim Gandy

February 14, 2008
My email runneth over. I can't tell you how many people have emailed or
called me outraged by the sorry display of sexism in the media these days.
Much of this venom is currently directed at one woman -- Sen. Hillary
Clinton -- though as we have pointed out before
, no woman in the
public eye, from Nancy Pelosi to Michelle Obama, is exempt.
For the first time in our nation's history, the idea of a woman president is
no longer limited to the fantasy world of TV or movies. Possibility could
become reality this November, and some folks are just having a hard time
dealing with it. That many of those people have high-profile jobs at major
news outlets is a cryin' shame.
We've been down this road before –- yes, NOW called out the media's bad
behavior several times last year, and thousands of women and men
demonstrated their agreement by signing our petition
serious and fair election coverage. Well, we're barely into 2008, and
already we have plenty of fresh examples of the media's failure to clean up
its act.
The press have been brutal to Clinton, no doubt about it. Whether
consciously or not, too many reporters, commentators, pundits and the like
appear unable to critique Hillary Clinton without dusting off their favorite
sexist clich├ęs, stereotypes and insults. Some of these remarks seem mild,
while others are offensive and truly outrageous. Taken together, they create
an environment of hostility toward all women, not just Senator Clinton. At
this moment it feels like she is a stand-in for every woman who has ever
tried to get ahead and be taken seriously by the powers that be.
There are four common themes in media coverage of Clinton's candidacy:
First, Clinton is criticized using a gender-based grading system. The media
evaluate how she looks, dresses, talks, laughs and even claps. She is held
to double standards familiar to working women. A man demonstrates toughness
and strength; a woman who behaves similarly is called icy and rigid. His
behavior shows compassion and warmth, but her similar behavior shows too
much emotion and maybe weakness. He knows how to work the system; she is
manipulative. He shows a mastery of the subject; she is nit-picky. He thinks
through all the options before charting a course; she is calculating.
Second, our society still has not come to terms with ambition in women -- it
is suspect. Clinton is frequently charged with doing or saying anything to
win. But I think it has an extra sharp anti-woman overtone as it is used
against Hillary. In other words, everything Clinton does to win the election
-- strategizing, organizing, confronting, comparing and contrasting -- is
interpreted as calculating, fake or just plain evil. But when a man
campaigns hard, refusing to cede an inch, they call it . . . running for
Third, Clinton is presumed to be where she is today because of her husband,
Bill. The fact that Clinton has a famous former president for a husband is
used to discredit her own achievements and to imply that maybe she couldn't
have made it on her own. I’m trying to remember if any of these commentators
implied that George W. Bush shouldn't be taken seriously as a candidate
because his father had been president. Or that people shouldn't vote for a
certain male candidate because he clearly got a leg up from his powerful
family's money, legacy? Or say from the advantages bestowed by his wife's
fortune? Who's to say that if Hillary had taken the fast-track first,
instead of Bill, she wouldn't have risen to the top before him?
Finally, when all else fails, belittle the voters. Women voters are
irrational and biased, and voting only on the basis of gender, the press are
happy to intimate (at least about the women who are voting for Hillary), and
they not so subtly imply that all voters are stupid and shallow. When the
pundits try to mind-read the general public to guess why they cast their
ballots one way or another, they often conclude that voters make decisions
based on the same superficial traits that fascinates the talking-heads
themselves -- like who seems "comfortable in their own skin" or who strikes
them as annoyingly nerdy.
One more thing: Hillary Clinton, and women in general, aren't the only ones
subject to gender-based assessments. Barack Obama and John Edwards have also
been degraded when the media detect in them "feminine" characteristics or
behaviors (like paying attention to your appearance) that supposedly are
unbecoming in men. That's right, both women and men can be poked with the
"girls are icky" stick.
Regarding women and men and politics, we really ought to be past the tree
house-years. It's not just those in the public eye who are hurt when the
media promote sex stereotypes. Daughters everywhere are hearing the message
that a woman can't be as competent and effective a leader as a man. Or that
all strong women are ball-busters (or nut-crackers) -- right up until they
finally reveal that they're just weepy wimps. (Never trust a crying woman.
She's after something, you know.)
Just so you don't think I’m making this up, here are a few (of course I had
to leave out MSNBC's Chris Matthews
because he deserves a whole
list all by himself) -- of the latest offenders:
Maureen Dowd, The New York Times, Feb. 13, 2008

Relaying a joke told by Penn Jillette: "Obama is just creaming Hillary. You
know, all these primaries, you know. And Hillary says it's not fair, because
they're being held in February, and February is Black History Month. And
unfortunately for Hillary, there's no White Bitch Month."
Katie Couric, CBS's 60 Minutes, Feb. 10, 2008
Interviewing Clinton: "What were you like in high school? Were you the girl
in the front row taking meticulous notes and always raising your hand? . .
Someone told me your nickname in school was 'Miss Frigidaire' -- is that
David Shuster, guest-hosting MSNBC's Tucker, Feb. 7, 2008

Regarding Chelsea Clinton making calls for her mother's campaign: "[T]here's
just something a little bit unseemly to me that Chelsea is out there calling
up celebrities saying, 'Support my mom.' . . . doesn't it seem like
Chelsea's sort of being pimped out in some weird sort of way?"
Lester Holt, MSNBC's primary coverage, Feb. 5, 2008

Incredulously, apparently shocked by exit poll results: "With the field of
Democratic candidates reduced to two, we asked primary voters, 'Who would
make the best commander in chief of the U.S. armed forces?' And here, it was
Hillary Clinton who was the clear favorite. The first woman candidate with a
serious shot at winning the presidency beat out her male rival -- look at
these numbers -- 50 percent to 35 percent. Keep in mind, this at a time the
nation is fighting on two fronts."
Andrew Sullivan,, Feb. 4. 2008
"The second bout of public tears just before a crucial primary vote - after
no evidence that Senator Hillary Clinton has a history of tearing up in
front of the cameras - provokes the unavoidable question: should feminists
actively vote against Clinton to defend the cause of female equality?"
Bill Kristol (New York Times columnist), panelist on Fox News Sunday, Feb.
3, 2008
"Look, the only people for Hillary Clinton are the Democratic establishment
and white women . . . . White women are a problem, that's, you know -- we
all live with that." After other panelists stated their disagreement,
Kristol responded: "I know, I shouldn't have said that."
Maureen Dowd, The New York Times, Jan. 30, 2008

"Like Scarlett O'Hara after a public humiliation, Hillary showed up at the
gathering wearing a defiant shade of red."
Mike Barnicle, guest on MSNBC's Morning Joe, Jan. 23, 2008

"[W]hen she reacts the way she reacts to Obama with just the look, the look
toward him, looking like everyone's first wife standing outside a probate
court, OK?"
Maureen Dowd, The New York Times, Jan. 23, 2008

"It's odd that the first woman with a shot at becoming president is so
openly dependent on her husband to drag her over the finish line."
Tucker Carlson, MSNBC's Tucker, Jan. 22, 2008

"It takes a lot of guts for a rich, privileged white lady who is one of the
most powerful people in the world to claim that she is a victim of gender
discrimination. . . . She hasn't driven her own car in almost 20 years and
she's a victim of discrimination? I mean can't we both agree that's just
Gail Collins, The New York Times, Jan. 10, 2008.

"The women whose heart went out to Hillary knew that it wasn't rational. .
they gave her a sympathy vote."
Chris Matthews, guesting on MSNBC's Morning Joe, Jan. 9, 2008

"Let's not forget -- and I'll be brutal -- the reason she's a U.S. senator,
the reason she's a candidate for president, the reason she may be a
front-runner is her husband messed around. That's how she got to be senator
from New York."
If you share my concern about the level of media sexism, sign our petition
to the media
NOW and tell them that their sexist campaign coverage must stop.
Thanks to our friends at Media Matters for their excellent research on media
sexism which contributed to these links.
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