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October 2017

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What I’m Reading – October 22, 2017

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Horrific Executive, Legislative, and Judicial Actions

“Unfortunately, Gov. Brown seems to not see it that way. Instead of looking at Title IX—and the right to an education free of violence—as an issue about civil rights and equity, he frames the issue as a struggle between warring factions. Instead of rapists vs. survivors, the true struggle is a matter of right (properly addressing campus violence to protect students’ civil rights) vs. wrong.” Echoing DeVos rhetoric, CA Gov. Brown vetoes turning campus sexual violence guidelines into law (by Wagatwe Wanjuki for Daily Kos)

“The law prohibits public workers — including doctors, teachers and daycare employees — as well as those receiving a service from the government from covering their faces. It was extended to municipal services, including public transit, in an amendment made in August.” ‘I should see your face, and you should see mine,’ Quebec premier says of new religious ‘neutrality’ law (by Benjamin Shingler for CBC)

“Advocates for students with disabilities were still reviewing the changes to determine their impact. Lindsay E. Jones, the chief policy and advocacy officer for the National Center for Learning Disabilities, said she was particularly concerned to see guidance documents outlining how schools could use federal money for special education removed.“All of these are meant to be very useful … in helping schools and parents understand and fill in with concrete examples the way the law is meant to work when it’s being implemented in various situations,” said Jones.” DeVos rescinds 72 guidance documents outlining rights for disabled students (by Moriah Ballingit for Washinton Post)

“A state lawmaker in Georgia who is married to former U.S. health and human services secretary Tom Price has drawn criticism for suggesting that people with HIV be quarantined to stop the spread of the virus, recalling language used in an earlier era when AIDS was little understood. “What are we legally able to do? I don’t want to say the quarantine word, but I guess I just said it,” State Rep. Betty Price (R) asked Pascale Wortley, the head of the Georgia Department of Public Health’s HIV Epidemiology Section, at a study committee meeting Tuesday on barriers to adequate health care, as seen in a video of the meeting.” Georgia lawmaker, wife of ex-HHS secretary Tom Price, asks about quarantining HIV patients (by Mary Hui for Washington Post)

Sexual Assault and Harassment

“It’s clear because the cultural malfunction that allows Allen to feel comfortable issuing that statement is the same malfunction that gave us Allen and Weinstein in the first place: the smothering, delusional, galactic entitlement of powerful men. When Allen and other men warn of “a witch hunt atmosphere, a Salem atmosphere” what they mean is an atmosphere in which they’re expected to comport themselves with the care, consideration and fear of consequences that the rest of us call basic professionalism and respect for shared humanity. On some level, to some men — and you can call me a hysteric but I am done mincing words on this — there is no injustice quite so unnaturally, viscerally grotesque as a white man being fired.” Yes, This Is a Witch Hunt. I’m a Witch and I’m Hunting You. (by Lindy West for New York Times)

“This has to stop. Instead of saying, “You cannot smoke in here,” we are telling every woman, “there is going to be smoke in the restaurant, so encase yourself entirely in protective sheeting.” Instead of saying, “Do not go around lighting people on fire,” we are telling women, “Don’t be flammable.” But you can’t be human and not be flammable. This is not like walking down a dark alley and getting mugged, because for that to be true you have to have the option of not walking down the dark alley.” Men of the world: You are not the weather (by Alexandra Petri for Washington Post)

“Given such a valiant declaration about this being the end of an era and all, it may come as a surprise to review who is in the academy. Members still in good standing include Roman Polanski, who has admitted to raping then-13-year-old Samantha Gailey in 1977 and has since been accused by three other women of rape; Casey Affleck, who was sued by two female colleagues for sexual harassment in 2010; and Bill Cosby, who has been accused by nearly 60 women of sexual misconduct and, this coming spring, will be retried on criminal charges that he drugged and sexually assaulted Andrea Constand in 2005. (The first trial, in June, ended with a hung jury.)” Why are Bill Cosby, Roman Polanski, and Casey Affleck still in the academy? (by Jessica M. Goldstein for Think Progress)

“While my own Harvey story may be different, I have had plenty of Harveys of my own over the years, enough to feel a sickening shock of recognition. When I was thirteen, a fifty-year-old crew member told me that he would teach me to dance, and then proceeded to push against me with an erection. When I was fourteen, a married film director stuck his tongue in my mouth on set. At a time when I was trying to figure out what it meant to become a sexually viable young woman, at every turn some older guy tried to help speed up the process. And all this went on despite my having very protective parents who did their best to shield me. I shudder to think of what would have happened had I not had them.” All the Other Harvey Weinsteins (by Molly Ringwald for the New Yorker)

“What is even more naive is pretending that looking gawky will protect you from being vulnerable. Any girl who gets curves a little too young and has clothes that make her feel comfortable is automatically shamed for it. But being a waif, you get made fun off for not having breasts. Both are at risk because at the end of the day it isn’t about beauty. It’s about power—power over people: beautiful, ugly, fat, or thin, adults or children. If you’re aware of that, the you should never feel the need to bring women’s looks or clothing into the conversation.” Mayim Bialik’s Tone-Deaf Op-Ed Is a Reminder That Calling Yourself a Feminist Isn’t Enough (by Princess Weeks for the Mary Sue)

Corporate Malfeasance

“Soon after he started working on the assembly line at Tesla, Jorge Ferro said he was taunted for being gay and threatened with violence. “Watch your back,” a supervisor warned after mocking his clothes for being “gay tight”, Ferro said. The harassment didn’t stop after he reported it to a manager, and days after he made a second complaint, Ferro was punished, according to his account. An HR representative took away Ferro’s badge, claiming that he had an “injury” that prevented him from working and saying there’s “no place for handicapped people at Tesla”, he alleged.” Tesla workers claim anti-LGBT threats, taunts, and racial abuse in lawsuits (by Sam Levin for The Guardian)

“A rigorous recent study from the Economic Policy Institute evaluated the impact of “right to work” by controlling for the effects of worker characteristics and state labor market conditions on wages. In “right to work” states, the median full-time worker (whether or not they are in a union) earns $1,500 a year less than their counterparts in states that allows unions to collect fees from every worker they represent.4 Workers in “right to work” states are also significantly less likely to have employer-sponsored health insurance or a pension through their job.” How So-Called ‘Right-to-Work’ Laws Aim to Silence Working People (by Amy Traub for Demos)

White Supremacists

“The confrontation unfolded at around 5:30 p.m. Thursday, when the occupants of a silver Jeep stopped to argue with a group of protesters assembled near a bus stop, Gainesville police said. The men in the car displayed Nazi salutes and shouted chants about Hitler, and one of them, identified as Tyler Tenbrink, 28, pulled out a gun. The other two assailants, brothers William Fears, 30, and Colton Fears, 28, encouraged Tenbrink to shoot at the protesters. Tenbrink fired one shot, which hit a nearby building. Then the Jeep sped off, police said.” White Nationalist Richard Spencer’s Supporters Charged in Post-Speech Shooting (by Jon Schuppe for NBC)

White FeminismTM

“Of course, this was expected. White women historically and embarrassingly continue to drop the intersectional ball. But even with that being the case, there are some other reasons that the fact that white feminism is rearing its basic-ass head this time around shouldn’t be all that surprising.” #SolidarityIsForWhiteWomen, Part 2: On Rose McGowan and the Continued Failure of White Feminism (by Clarkisha Kent for The Root)

Fighting Back

“The meeting came after weeks of pearl clutching by conservatives, including Donald Trump who spent more time tweeting about NFL players than he did about the devastation in Puerto Rico or the ongoing wildfires in California. Three weeks ago, Trump escalated his war of words by calling on NFL owners to fire or otherwise punish players who don’t stand for the anthem, but on Tuesday, the owners ignored Trump and chose to allow players to continue to kneel if they so choose. The league also agreed to support some of the causes for which the protesting players have been advocating, including reformation of the criminal justice system, according to the New York Times.” NFL owners rebuke Trump, elect not to punish players who protest during the anthem (by Adam Peck for Think Progress)

“So, if our children are already seeing colour, and it’s natural for them to do so, how do we stop this recognition of difference from turning into racial prejudice? It turns out, one of the most effective ways to fight implicit racial bias in young children is to not only allow them to see colour, but to also deliberately show them more of it.” No, kids are not “colourblind” (For Ijeoma Oluo for Today’s Parent)

Disaster Response

“There is help available for the 18-year-old — right offshore. A floating state-of-the-art hospital, the USNS Comfort, could provide critical care, his doctor says. But nobody knows how to get him there. And Sammy is not alone. Clinics that are overwhelmed with patients and staff say they don’t even know how to begin sending cases to the ship. Doctors say there’s a rumor that patients have to be admitted to a central hospital before they can be transferred to the Comfort. Only 33 of the 250 beds on the Comfort — 13% — are being used, nearly two weeks after the ship arrived.” There’s a hospital ship waiting for sick Puerto Ricans — but no one knows how to get on it (by Leyla Santiago and Mallory Simon for CNN)

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