With the election looming and "the women's vote" more courted then ever, there's no better time to share the story of Victoria Woodhull, one of history's most daring and audacious women.
The story of Victoria Woodhull is the story of the first woman to run for president. And the story of the first female stockbroker, the first female publisher, and the most controversial and popular advocate of free love. Hers is the story of a woman who injected much-needed spark into the suffrage movement when it was losing its fire. It's the story of a woman in late-1800s America the scandalizing the nation with a life that was in her own words "ahead of its time."
Saturday, January 26, 2013
a very nice article on Slate.com by Mark Vanhoenacker, that addresses this question: why can’t American ballots be simpler? His answer is a model of clarity. I encourage you to read it.
"[T]he self-styled deficit hawks — better described as deficit scolds — are losing their hold over political discourse. And that’s a very good thing. ...
What was it that finally pulled back the curtain here? Was it the way the election campaign revealed Representative Paul Ryan, who received a “fiscal responsibility” award from three leading deficit-scold organizations, as the con man he always was? ...
Sad to say, G.O.P. control of the House means that we won’t do what we should be doing: spend more, not less, until the recovery is complete. But the fading of deficit hysteria means that the president can turn his focus to real problems. And that’s a move in the right direction."
"Anti-abortionists, wanting to reverse Roe v. Wade, often use the argument that taxpayers should not pay for abortion. But taxpayers have always paid for abortion; in fact they paid much more for it when it was illegal.If one worked in city hospitals in New York or Boston in the 1960s, as I did, not a week went by without the emergency admission of a young woman bleeding to death from an attempted abortion. Either she had gone to some self-appointed unskilled practitioner, or she had tried to produce the desired effect with a coat hanger, some other foreign body or one of the poisons Ms. Manning describes. Most often, the actual results were severe infection and death.No one is “pro abortion”; it is the desperate act of a desperate person. When it was illegal and unfinanced, we paid for it through expensive hospitalization and frequent loss of life. Now that it is legal, we pay for it another way. But at least young women seeking to terminate pregnancy are not paying for it with their lives."
"There is no law that will end the practice of abortion, only laws that can protect a woman’s right to choose it, or not, and to keep it the safe and private procedure still available to us in 2013, 40 years after the Supreme Court made it legal."
Thursday, November 15, 2012
When I look back over my 75 years of life, 40 of them spent on hectic battle fronts of the unending war, I realize that, like all crusaders, I have stormed in where kings and courtiers feared to tread. I have beaten my fists, and sometimes my head, against stone walls of power and privilege. I have railed at mayors, at governors, at legislators, at presidents of great universities. I have banged machine guns in defense of certain basic principles in which I believe and continue to believe. For them I have fought without fear and without favor; but within my own soul I know that I have never sought a battle for its own sake, although I have never evaded one when it was forced upon me.
Karen Lewis, 2010 acceptance speech, after winning the Chicago Teachers Union presidency:
Today marks the beginning of the end of scapegoating educators for all the social ills that our children, families and schools struggle against every day. Today marks the beginning of a fight for true transparency in our educational policy - how to accurately measure learning and teaching, how to truly improve our schools, and how to evaluate the wisdom behind our spending priorities. This election shows the unity of 30,000 educators standing strong to put business in its place - out of our schools. Corporate America sees K-12 public education as $380 billion that, up until the last 10 or 15 years, they didn't have a sizable piece of.... Our teachers and para-professionals are poised to reclaim the power of our 30,000 members and protect what we love: teaching and learning in publicly-funded public schools.
Sunday, September 23, 2012
Saturday, September 15, 2012
Singer-songwriter Gemma Hayes -
"For a long time when I would see or experience for myself the absolute unfair treatment of women in society I would become overwhelmed by a sense of hopelessness. Part of me would want to stand up and shout 'stop' but I felt small and unheard. Once I heard of the Half The Sky Movement I gave a sigh of relief. Its members are proactive about waking society up in a positive way and it is making a difference. It's a real honor to contribute my song "Sorrow be Gone" to the 30 songs 30 days campaign. I chose to contribute this song because it deals with a woman moving forward in her life even when the very wind is pushing her backwards. She still moves forward. She carries the sorrow of all she is denied but she knows the sadness will leave one day."Support the Half the Sky Movement:
Hidden in the overlapping problems of sex trafficking and forced prostitution, gender-based violence, and maternal mortality is the single most vital opportunity of our time — and women are seizing it. From Somaliland to Cambodia to Afghanistan, women's oppression is being confronted head on and real, meaningful solutions are being fashioned. Change is happening, and it’s happening now.
Wednesday, May 23, 2012
This should be required reading in middle school history classes. Everyone needs to be aware of the history behind the rights they take for granted.
People died for a forty-hour workweek.
by James Robert Porter
This is a true thing. It happened. The one thing you’re virtually guaranteed to have when you get a job in this country. You might not get insurance, you might not get regular breaks…but you know when you walk in the door, you’re only going to be asked to work forty hours a week, or else you’re due overtime. This is basic. It’s not even a talking point anymore.
A couple of centuries ago, people felt so strongly about this right that they gave their lives for it. They died so you could enjoy it. They were shot, hanged, starved, let’s face it, they were MURDERED, and this happened so that you could enjoy a right that we now take for granted.
In the early part of the 20th century, the majority of Americans were working a 12-14 hour workday, regularly. When the average American walked into a new workplace, he could reasonably assume he would be working that kind of a schedule. It was expected. What most of us now consider a punishing overtime schedule, the majority of the workforce in 1905 regarded as a normal workweek.
And they thought it was bullshit.
As far back as 1791, Americans were lobbying for a shorter workday. This wasn’t a bunch of lazy New Deal liberals wanting to sit on their laurels. This was shortly after the founding of our country. This was the majority of carpenters in the nascent United States, sick of putting in long, grueling hours and knowing that there were better alternatives. In the next century, this demand had become commonplace. It turned out that the average employer worked their business from sunup to sundown, every single day, a schedule most of us can’t even comprehend. By the 1830s, people were pissed off about it.
People died for a forty-hour workweek.
At the close of the 1800s, most Americans still didn’t have what they wanted. Apparently, an eight hour workday was simply too much to ask from employers. So much so, that a great many employers found the need to hire their own police force to enforce the longer work days. When people talk of unionizing nowadays, many of them think it was just a bunch of socialists and liberals trying to push around their bosses, but that’s not the case. The reason unions took off was because, if you complained about something like a fourteen hour workday to your employer, and you didn’t have people backing you up, there was a real chance you were going to have your ass beat. Employers paid people to do this for them. If you were lucky, you just got fired for shooting your mouth off, but most people were not lucky. At least if you had a union, you had a sort of safety in numbers, even if it usually meant a more distributed beat down courtesy of the in house police force.
People died for a forty-hour workweek.
Pretty soon, people figured out they really only had one weapon they could use against their employers, and that was a general strike. Complaining just got you fired or beaten, going to the newspapers was about as effective as it is nowadays, since the people who printed the news, nine times out of ten, were the same people that made you work fourteen hours in the first place. But if you and all your union friends stopped working, you stopped production. If you stopped production, then the company loses money, and if that happens, you finally have their attention. In a sane world, this would lead to a civil airing of grievances and an honest attempt to address them.
This is not a sane world, because people died for a forty-hour workweek.
In 1886, a group of workers on strike at the McCormick plant in Chicago went on a march to Haymarket Square to protest the people trying to break the strike. This was a completely nonviolent demonstration. In return, police opened fire on them, wounding many and ending the lives of four people.
Oh, I’m sorry, did you think those were the company police? No, this was the city police. Paid for by the tax money of those dead men. They shot them because they wanted an eight-hour workday.
Soon afterward, during another rally, someone threw a dynamite bomb as the police tried to disperse the crowd. It went off, killing some officers, and in the ensuing chaos a gunfight broke out. Labor leaders were rounded up and, even though everyone agreed none of the people arrested actually had anything to do with the bomb, they were given death sentences anyway. Four of them were hung. Afterward, after pressure from the public, a judge repealed the death sentence for the remaining leader, saying that he and the four dead men were actually innocent and their execution was the result of "hysteria, packed juries and a biased judge".
People died for a forty-hour workweek.
In 1916, in the town of Everett, Washington, a contingent of striking shingle workers, supported by members of the IWW (Wobblies), were confronted by the town police led by the sheriff, one Donald McRae. McRae drew a gun on the nonviolent protestors and told them to turn around and leave. A shot rang out, starting a gunfight that, again, left a lot of dead people. Nobody knows who fired the first shot, but most historians agree that it’s unlikely it was from the worker side, considering they suffered the bulk of the losses and the few officers that were wounded during the battle were injured by their own side.
People died so you could work a forty-hour workweek.
There’s more. Much, much more. People were willing to die for this basic right we all enjoy now.
Employers were so against it that they were willing to murder so we couldn’t have it. Back in the early 1900s, an eight-hour workday was so threatening that it was worth killing someone over. The American people finally won it, paid for with blood and corpses, and now we don’t even think about it.
People died for a forty-hour workweek.
James Robert Porter is the son of 31-year IBEW member Donald Porter. His message is especially timely on May 1, which is the anniversary of the famous Haymarket Square rally in Chicago in 1886, which was the springboard for the long fight for an eight-hour day.
Tuesday, May 15, 2012
[T]he decision to breastfeed (or not), it should be supported. In all the debate about breastfeeding, I feel that it is a personal choice that may or may not work for all mothers; however, it is critical that as a society, we have the policies and infrastructure in place to support those decisions.
We should not be relegated to a bathroom or closet because society has not deemed it critical to create private nursing or pumping spaces in public locations.
We should not have to feel the burning judgmental stares because we decide to breastfeed on a plane, or anywhere in public.
We should not have to hear the banter of folks who are uncomfortable with the idea of mothers continuing to nurse when children are ‘too old.’
We should not have to hear the denigration of mothers who are unable or uninterested in nursing at all.
On this mama’s day, we -- as a society -- need to respect and support the decisions that women and families make when raising their children. We also need to serve as advocates for change at the political and societal level so that the U.S. is no longer one of the lowest-scoring industrialized countries to be a mom, with a dismal breastfeeding policy score of ‘poor’ and the only developed country to not guarantee paid parental leave.(Breaks and bolding added.)
The reality is that mothers are not as supported as they should be in this country, and the recent, ongoing war against reproductive rights, unions, and legislation like the Violence Against Women Act have only made things worse.
Below are several ways (among many) that we, as a nation, could do a much better job of supporting mothers.
1. Require paid parental leave.
2. Support workplace flexibility and other leave policies.
3. Address the gender wage gap.
4. Stop trying to roll back access to birth control.
5. Support safe, legal access to abortion.
6. Support unionization.
7. Fight for affordable health care.
8. Reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act.
9. Address cuts to safety net services.
10. Ensure that mothers behind bars are treated with dignity.
11. Celebrate mothers of all stripes, from all backgrounds.
All mothers deserve love and respect, on Mother's Day and every day.
Friday, November 25, 2011
Why do Republicans advocate further tax cuts for the very rich even as they warn about deficits and demand drastic cuts in social insurance programs?
Well, aside from shouts of “class warfare!” whenever such questions are raised, the usual answer is that the super-elite are “job creators” — that is, that they make a special contribution to the economy. So what you need to know is that this is bad economics. In fact, it would be bad economics even if America had the idealized, perfect market economy of conservative fantasies. ...
But, you say, the rich pay taxes! Indeed, they do. And they could — and should, from the point of view of the 99.9 percent — be paying substantially more in taxes, not offered even more tax breaks, despite the alleged budget crisis, because of the wonderful things they supposedly do.
Still, don’t some of the very rich get that way by producing innovations that are worth far more to the world than the income they receive? Sure, but if you look at who really makes up the 0.1 percent, it’s hard to avoid the conclusion that, by and large, the members of the super-elite are overpaid, not underpaid, for what they do. ...
So should the 99.9 percent hate the 0.1 percent? No, not at all. But they should ignore all the propaganda about “job creators” and demand that the super-elite pay substantially more in taxes.
This Video Makes It Perfectly Clear Why Karl Rove Is Terrified Of Elizabeth Warren:
She’s solid as a rock, and there’s nothing the GOP can attack her on. It’s about time a candidate like Elizabeth Warren came along!