Sunday, October 11, 2009

Suggested Sunday reading (10/11)

I've been on vacation this past week, and I've spent a good portion of my time painting my apartment, re-arranging furniture, hanging artwork on walls and eating bad-for-you food. I also managed to watch a decent number of movies -- Zombieland, Paranormal Activity (must-see if you like scary movies), Behind the Mask and American Zombie. The latter was interesting, but a little slow. Highly recommend the other three. Anyway, as a result, I've also taken a mini-vacation from my computer and the Internet, but here are my can't-miss stories of the week:

I don't think this story has received nearly enough coverage: "Franken passes law denying fed contracts to companies that support rape of employees." This is the case of a former Haliburton/KBR employee, a woman, who was gang-raped by seven co-workers and held hostage in a shipping container in Iraq. She later found out she can't press charges or sue in our court system because the contract she signed with Haliburton/KBR prevents her from "seeking any justice apart from private arbitration." Sen. Al Franken introduced an amendment to a bill that would prevent the federal government from entering into contracts with companies who have such policies. The bill passed the Senate, 68-30. Kudos to Franken for putting together an important piece of legislation, and to the senators who voted to pass the bill.

Read more here:
  • Think Progress: "Franken wins bipartisan support for legislation reigning in KBR's treatment of rape." (also has video of Franken's comments on amendment)
  • ABC: "Alleged U.S. contractor rape victim fights for day in court."
  • Huffington Post: "Meet the senators who voted against the Franken amendment."

A new Oklahoma law requires details of abortions to be posted on the Internet. Not your name or address, but pretty much everything else -- including why you're having an abortion. A suit has been filed to stop the law from going into effect. This isn't all Oklahoma is up to in terms of restricting abortions or scaring women into not getting them. Check out Salon's article "The details of your abortion online?"

In other news:
  • RH Reality Check writes about women in Congress and health care reform: "Women Democratic senators take on reform, show their male colleagues what it means to have cajones." Sen. Barbara Mikulski says "We the women of the Senate have fought for equal pay and equal work…and now we are fighing for equal coverage. We want equal benefits for equal premiums." This is a great article, and I'm grateful these women are standing up and talking about this. It's too important.
  • NYT: "House votes to expand hate crimes definition." Man, some of the people against this legislation sound completely ignorant and prejudiced. Yes John Boehner and Mike Pence, I'm looking at you. The bill goes to the Senate next and it sounds like it will be passed there.
  • The National Republican Congressional Committee issued a statement this week saying that Gen. Stanley McChrystal should put House Speaker Nancy Pelosi "in her place." (I can only assume they mean in a kitchen.) Lincoln Mitchell has a good column about this on Huffington Post, even though it doesn't really address the gender aspect of this statement -- but it's kind of refreshing that he didn't. If you so wish, you can sign the DCCC's petition denouncing the NRCC's statement here.
  • William Petrocelli writes for the Huffington Post about the book "Half the Sky," in a column titled "The Most Important Book of the Year."
  • Politics Report reports "Women should not have the right to vote, according to the right."
  • Women's Rights discusses a Funny or Die video showing a "fat" Nicole Eggert.
  • Sexist vintage ads have been making the rounds, but I've never seen the first one pictured on this site. Holy not subtle.
  • Anyone care to explain to me why men who look at Playboy would care to see a naked cartoon character? Especially if that character is Marge Simpson? (I can't stand the Simpsons, never could get into that show.) I do not get it. At all.
  • Finally, some cute news: "Piano steps trick people into taking the stairs." (Apologies for the link's use of the word "fatties," but the video is worth watching.)

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