Posts Tagged ‘Reproductive Rights’

July 4

Saturday, July 4th, 2009

On July 4, I have a ritual that includes listening to Paul Robeson sing “Ballad for Americans,”  reading the Declaration of Independence aloud with my husband, and eating chocolate ice cream.  The last ritual is a remainder of my childhood 4ths, when we made ice cream in my mother’s old hand-cranked churn.  The Ballad is also a childhood icon.  I grew up thinking that Robeson had sung it for FDR at his first inaugural, but it turns out that the song wasn’t written until 1939.  We had a set of 78’s, which my parents had bought in 1941 when they first started to date.

I grew up imbued by my parents with a passionate belief in American ideals of liberty and justice and I often feel baffled and frustrated by our divagations from those standards.  The Supreme Court and the Presidency both seriously undermined our fundamental freedoms in the last decade, while the third arm of the government, Congress, has been so busy feeding at the public trough that they’ve paid no heed. When Justice Scalia ruled that it’s okay for police to break down people’s doors without showing a warrant, there was no outcry in press or Congress.   And the behavior of the executive branch makes for a mighty uncomfortable reading of the  Declaration.

Among George III’s abuses detailed by Jefferson are:

“For Quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:

For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:

For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:

For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury:

For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences”

I think we’d all hoped Barack would end secret courts, and bring any suspected terrorists to trial, rather than holding them indefinitely.  We’d all hoped for more daylight on torture committed by our government.

The one right that keeps expanding here is handgun ownership.  Congress is now allowing weapons in federal parks.  Arizona, in the same week that it sharply curtailed abortion rights, expanded gun ownership rights.

But it’s the 4th of July, time for ice cream and parades, not for worrying about 2 billion handguns in a time of high economic anxiety.  I’ll think about that tomorrow.  In the meantime, Happy 4th, and wherever you are on this planet, I hope you find a way to live your life in freedom, as FDR said, freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom from want, and above all, freedom from fear.

And the winner is…

Monday, February 16th, 2009

 It’s that time of year, winter bleeding into spring, when we celebrate Black History, Women’s History, and the Oscars.  So here’s a little quiz to get  you in the mood.

Note: I post twice a month on a blog called the Chicago Outfit Collective, and this is what I plan to put up on February 18, when it’s my turn to post there again.  I realize that many of you are international readers and that this quiz is totally US-centric–but if you have some international questions you think I should add, let me know.  I’ll post the answers next week. 

 1.  Who is Loveleen Tandan? 

2.  Recent reviews of the work Tandan co-created appeared in the New York Times, Chicago Tribune, Chicago Sun-Times, The New Yorker, and Time-Out Chicago.  Plus or minus two, how many times was Tandan’s name mentioned in total in all these reviews?

 3.   Age cannot wither her 

a. What was the age difference between Dustin Hoffman and Anne Bancroft in The Graduate?

b.  What is the age difference between Hoffman and Emma Thompson in Last Chance Harvey?

c.  How old was Julia Roberts when the studios decided she was no longer the sexy young love interest, but was now the quirky aging feminist, Katherine Watson, in Mona Lisa Smile?

Julia Roberts

Julia Roberts






(Note: Roberts may be making a glamour queen comeback for studios desperate for star power) 

4.  Match the person to the organization or movement they founded or led.

            i. Ella Baker  ii. James Bevel  iii.  John Lewis  iv. Doris Nash  v.  Fannie Lou Hamer    vi. Dorothy Height vii.  Martin Luther King

            a.   SNCC (Student Non-Violent Co-ordinating Committee)

            b.   Mississippi Freedom Party

            c.   National Council of Negro Women

            d.   Nashville-Jackson Freedom Ride 

Ella Baker

Ella Baker

Fannie Lou Hamer

Fannie Lou Hamer

5.  Of the women leaders listed, which were invited to speak at the Lincoln Memorial when King made his famous “I have a dream” speech? 

6.  Sticks and stones

            “Hottie,” “chick,” and “babe” are often used as synonyms for “woman,” including sometimes in the Chicago Outfit blog.

            a.  What images or feelings do these synonyms elicit?

            b.  List three synonyms for “man” that elicit the same images or feelings

7.  Three years after graduating from university, U.S. women’s salaries are what percentage of men who are doing the same work, with both working full-time?

a. 100 (i.e., equal)

b. 127

c. 75

d. 62 

8.  Thirty years after graduating from university, women’s salaries are what percentage of men who are doing the same work, with both working full-time?

a.  100

b.  127

 c.  75

d.  62

  9.  Before becoming White House social secretary, Desiree Rogers headed:

Desiree Rogers

Desiree Rogers

a. The Social Register

b. North Shore Gas

c. The Illinois State Lottery

d. The North Shore Gourmet Club

e. People’s Gas 

10.  Support for contraceptives for low-income women was removed from the economic stimulus bill because:

a.  Women need to have more babies to pay for the stimulus package down the road

b.  Babies require women to spend more money on health care and diapers which will further stimulate the economy

c. Women who decide when and whether to get pregnant are “playing God” with their bodies and need men in government or religion to tell them “how to live their lives right.” 

11.  What percentage of movies released between 2004 and 2008 depict the female lead as a stripper or a hooker or both?

a. 7

b. 27

c. 67

d.  87



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