Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Odds 'N Ends

1) Frenetic Swine Flu Article of the Week

From the current Time magazine, in big, bold type that takes up half of an entire page in the print version (the online version I've linked to is different):

"More than 2 billion people worldwide could get it. Hundreds of schools may shut down. And 160 million Americans will need to be vaccinated- twice."

Then, in teeny tiny print on the 3rd page of the article, the author informs us not to panic because "overreaction- individually or as a country- will only make it worse."

Now Time, don't be silly. Why on earth would anyone feel the need to overreact?

2) Progressive Are Going Nowhere?

Via truthdig, Chris Hedges argues that America has not and will not change under the Obama Administration. His money quote, in arguing against our current two-party system:

"The Liberty Party, which fought slavery, the suffragists who battled for women’s rights, the labor movement, and the civil rights movement knew that the question was not how do we get good people to rule—those attracted to power tend to be venal mediocrities—but how do we limit the damage the powerful do to us."

In believing that the Democrats and the Republicans are So Very Different from each other, we the people remain politically passive.

3) Recognizing Sex-Based Hate Crimes

At the Huffington Post, Louise Marie Roth argues that the George Sodini's murderous rampage was a hate crime against women.

I agree.

Current federal hate crimes laws race, color, religion, and national origin. While much of the focus on the pending Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act ("Matthew Shepard Act") has been on protections of the LGBT community, this new law would give the Department of Justice the power to investigate and prosecute bias-motivated violence based on gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, and disability in addition to the already-protected classes of race, color, religion, and national origin.

I have reservations as to whether hate crimes legislation actually deter hate crimes, but I think it's important to (a) acknowledge that gender-based hate crimes do occur and (b) to label them as such given the degree to which violence against women has been normalized.

And also, it sort of makes one wonder why anti-gays are so opposed to the Matthew Shepard Act, and so opposed that they lie about it!, since it also seeks to protect, not only LGBT people, but also heterosexual women (and men) from bias-motivated violence.

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