Infographic of the Day: The incarceration of domestic abuse survivors

30 Jan
Originally posted on Feministing
Marissa Alexander should never have been convicted for shooting at the ceiling to scare off her abusive husband. On Tuesday, Alexander was “allowed” to fill the rest of her sentence at home, under house arrest. Sadly, the incarceration of women like Alexander is an epidemic. ColorOfChange and UltraViolet have collaborated on this disturbing infographic showing just how frequently women, especially women of color, are criminalized for surviving domestic.image via ultraviolet

 

 

Black Lives Kind of Matter: Marissa Alexander free after 3 years, Civil Rights heroes clear after 53

29 Jan
image via youtube

image via youtube

Originally posted on RawStory

File these stories under “This week in Justice Delayed/ relative progress/ baby steps/ Black Lives Matter a Little” news: a Black woman who never should have been convicted for firing a warning shot to scare off an abusive husband is “allowed” to serve the rest of her sentence at home under house arrest. And a judge threw out the convictions of 9 Black men who had sat at an all white lunch counter in Rock Hill, South Carolina in 1961.

Marissa Alexander was sentenced to 20 years in jail for shooting a wall and harming nobody. She was attempting to scare off her abusive then-husband, Rico Gray, who had admitted to and against whom she had a restraining order. Thinking he was not at home, Alexander went to their former house to get some belongings. The two got into an argument and, according to Alexander, Gray threatened her. Gray corroborates Alexander’s story: “I was in a rage. I called her a whore and bitch and … I told her … if I can’t have you, nobody going to have you,” he said, in a deposition. When Alexander retreated into the bathroom, Gray tried to break the door. She ran into the garage, but couldn’t leave because it was locked. She came back with a registered gun, which she legally owned, and yelled at him to leave. Gray recalls, “I told her … I ain’t going nowhere, and so I started walking toward her … I was cursing and all that … and she shot in the air.” Gray himself understands why Alexander fired the warning shot:

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Ten portraits secretly drawn by an Auschwitz prisoner

29 Jan
Image via CNN

Image via CNN

Originally posted on RawStory

Today, Tuesday, January 27th, marks the seventieth anniversary of the Liberation of Auschwitz, the death camp where the Nazis killed 1.1 million people between 1940 and 1945. 90% of those killed there were Jews and Auschwitz.was where one out of six of the Jews killed in the Holocaust were murdered. But the camp also housed, and killed, Polish people, Soviet political prisoners, Jehovah’s Witnesses, “homosexuals,” and Romani.

One of the people who survived Auschwitz,was Franciszek Jaźwiecki, a Polish political prisoner and artist, who captured the faces of his fellow inmates through the hundreds of portraits he drew.  As Agnieszka Sieradzka, an art historian the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum, writes, “the most interesting in these portraits are eyes — a very strange helplessness.” Sieradzka also suspects Jaźwiecki saw the portraits as future artifacts, since almost every portrait featured the prisoner number of the subject, which made them identifiable.

Continue reading and see the portraits

 

Your end-of-the-week indulgence: Obama’s SOTU zinger remixed

23 Jan
image via youtube

image via youtube

In case you missed President Obama’s amazing ad-libbed zinger of a comeback from this week’s State of The Union Address, here it is presented in its true essence: a music video.

When President Obama said, “I have no more campaigns to run,” some Republicans cheer and clapped. And without missing a beat, our commander in chief said, “I know, because I won both of them.” LIKE A BOSS!

Continue reading and see the music video

 

9 Sitting members of Congress who voted against Martin Luther King Jr. Day

20 Jan
image via wikipedia

image via wikipedia

Happy Martin Luther King, Jr. Day! To celebrate, let’s honor the currently sitting politicians who voted against making this day a federal or state holiday!

First, some background. Congressman John Conyers, (D-MI) first introduced legislation for a Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday on April 8, 1968, four days after he was killed.  When Conyers brought the bill to the floor in November 1979, it failed by five votes. A bill was finally passed in 1983 and signed into law by President Ronald Reagan, who only signed it because his veto would have been over-ridden.

So, let’s take a look at the politicians who are still in office and who voted against honoring Dr. King through a federal holiday.

1. Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA)

 

See the full list here

 

RIP Aishah Rahman: playwright, author, professor, renaissance woman

20 Jan

Aishah Rahman was a playwright, author, professor, and renaissance woman who lives on through her her work.

Aishah Rahman was born in Harlem on November 4, 1936 and died on December 29th at her home in San Miguel de Allende, as the New York Times announced this week. Along with Amiri Baraka, Larry Neal, and Sonia Sanchez, Rahman was part the Black Arts Movement of the 1960’s and described her writing style as using a “jazz aesthetic.” Rahman graduated from Howard University with BS in Political Science in 1968 and got an MA in playwriting and dramatic literature from Goddard College in 1985.

image via New York Times

image via New York Times

Rahman wrote several plays including “Unfinished Women Cry In No Man’s Land While a Bird Dies in Gilded Cage, ” “The Mojo And The Sayso,” “Only in America,” “Chiaroscuro” as well as three plays with music, “Lady Day A Musical Tragedy,” “The Tale of Madame Zora” and “Has Anybody Seen Marie Laveau?” two collections of one act plays Transcendental Blues and Mingus Takes 3. Ms. Rahman’ plays are published in Plays by Aishah Rahman and are widely anthologized in several collections including Nine Plays Moon Marked and Touched by Sun and Plays by African Americans. Her plays were produced across the United States at theaters including the Public Theatre, Ensemble Theatre, BAM and universities. Rahman published a Chewed Water: A Memoir, the story of growing up in Harlem in the 1940’s and 50s, in 2001. Her countless awards and prizes included a recognition by the Rockefeller Foundation of the Arts for dedication to playwriting in the American Theater and received The Doris Abramson Playwriting Award as well as a New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship.

Rahman served as director of playwriting at the New Federal Theater in New York, taught at Nassau Community College on Long Island and most recently at Brown University, retiring in 2011.

Rahman is survived by a daughter, Yoruba Richen, a son, Kevin Brown, grandchildren Thalia Zephyrine and Ishyah Yisrael and great grandchildren; Thelonious Gatling, Amir Yisrael-Mosby, Eliyahkim Yisrael, Jelani-YechiYAH, Neriyah Yisrael.

When I asked Yoruba Richen, the award-winning documentary filmmaker (The New Black)  if there was anything she wanted people to know about her mother she said, “Her plays were focused on exploring the black female experience in all its joys and pain and complexity.”

Yoruba also had these inspiring and moving words to say:

My mom was dedicated to her craft.  Despite frustrations that sometime arise in the life of an artist – she was committed to her writing and to  using her voice to contribute to some kind of understanding of those who are often marginalized.   She inspires me to be dedicated to my work and to telling stories that have often been ignored and  give voice to the voiceless.  And she instilled in me to never be bitter, to have faith and humor and generosity of spirit and, as she wrote to me one time,  to always remember- in spite all of the pain, and the misery and injustice the world is good.

RIP Aishah Rahman.

Originally posted on Feministing

How to Get a Vagina High: 4 Things We Learned About Sex This Week

19 Jan

Some interesting tidbits about sexuality revealed.

From why we have sex in the first place, to marijuana lube for your lady parts, here’s what we learned about sex this week.

1. If you have to cheat on a straight man….

David Frederick, an assistant professor of psychology at Chapman University in Orange, Calif. wanted to look at the different ways people respond to sexual infidelity, which he defines as having sex but not falling in love, as opposed to emotional infidelity, or falling in love but not having sex. For the study, 64,000 Americans expressed via an online survey how they would respond to sexual and emotional infidelity. The participants also indicated their gender and sexual orientation (straight, bisexual, gay/ lesbian). Only one of the groups was more upset by sexual cheating than by emotional cheating. And that was…straight men! Fifty-four percent percent of heterosexual men were more upset by sexual infidelity, compared to 35 percent of heterosexual women. Sixty-five percent of straight women and 46% of straight men said they would be more upset by emotional cheating. For bisexual men and women as well lesbians and gay men, only around 30% would be more upset by sexual infidelity than emotional infidelity.

2. The mystery of why we have sex, solved at last.

As you may have noticed, humans reproduce sexually, while other species like jellyfish or plants can create offspring asexually. And for a while, scientists had a theoretical understanding of why. Fun factor aside, combining genetic information from two individuals is less efficient than doing it solo, but it’s healthier because as Jesse Hollister, a former University of Toronto post-doc fellow, puts it, “Asexual reproduction leads to a buildup of deleterious mutations over time; it’s called Muller’s Ratchet.” Of course! Muller’s Ratchet! Hollister explains, “The species’ average fitness is reduced and they are less able to compete in the ecological arena than sexual species, so they have an increased probability of extinction.”

But as any scientist knows, theories are great, but they don’t hold a candle to data. Thanks to Hollister we have empirical evidence backing the theory and the evening primrose. The evening primrose! Some evening primroses, or EPs as I like to call them, have evolved to reproduce sexually, while others reproduce asexually. In a totally incomprehensible process, Hollister and his colleagues were able to document that the EPs which produced sexually were healthier.

3. The first lubricant designed to get your lady parts high.

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France turns anti-semitic, unfunny ‘comedian’ Dieudonné into free speech hero by arresting him

19 Jan
image via wikipedia

image via wikipedia

Really, France? The country that prides itself on its liberté responds to an unfunny, hateful and stupid Facebook comment by arresting the idiot who posts it? The week after holding a march honoring free speech as well as those killed over exercising free speech? France does have a long tradition of conditional liberty. I think we all know the famous quote, “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it, unless you post it on Facebook, in which case you deserve to be arrested.”  (This quote is really, “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.” It is misattributed to Voltaire but is actually a phrase used by Evelyn Beatrice Hall to describe Voltaire’s position.)

On Wednesday, French comedian Dieudonné M’bala M’bala, who goes by his first name only, was arrested for being an “apologist for terrorism” over a post he wrote on Facebook on Monday: “Tonight, as far as I’m concerned, I feel like Charlie Coulibaly,” mixing the “Je Suis Charlie” slogan in solidarity with the victims of the Charlie Hebdo shooting with a reference to Amédy Coulibaly, the man who killed four people at a kosher supermarket last week.

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7 Golden Globes moments that made conservative heads explode

13 Jan
image via youtube

image via youtube

Sunday night’s Golden Globes awards were truly epic. Hosting the awards ceremony for the third and last time, Tina Fey and Amy Poehler were amazeballs, went out with a bang, will be missed and should basically host every event ever. There were, of course, examples of douche-baggery (you know who I’m talking to… Jeremy Renner and Bill Bob). But the night was also marked by ground breaking nominations and wins, which honored people, ideas and populations who are all to often ignored, marginalized, invisible. In other words, nominations and wins which would make especially self-pitying straight, white, male conservatives who freak out about their alleged loss of power, extremely uncomfortable, angry, sad, and even more self-pitying. So, here, without any further ado, I present the moments from the 2015 Golden Globes that made conservative heads explode. (OK. A little bit more ado…  Because I don’t actually have the footage of exploding heads, to illustrate the reactions as I imagine them, I turn to GIFs of some of the characters from The Office.)

Continue reading at RawStory

 

8 hit songs white singers ripped off from black musicians

12 Jan
images of Robert Plant and Willie Dixon via wikipedia

images of Robert Plant and Willie Dixon via wikipedia

Cultural appropriation is the gift that keeps on giving. Thursday marked what would have been the 80th birthday of Elvis Presley, whose relationship with Black music was complex, to say the least. Madonna  created a social media backlash when she posted altered photos of Nelson Mandela and Martin Luther King to promote her new album.  And… Iggy Azalea.

But what about good old fashioned theft?

Some of the most successful songs performed by white singers are songs written and/ or performed by Black singers.  Here is a mere sample of some of the countless examples (that we know of).

Read the rest at RawStory

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