Quote of the Day: Clothing Humanity


“Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed. This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children. This is not a way of life at all in any true sense. Under the clouds of war, it is humanity hanging on a cross of iron.”
― Dwight D. Eisenhower

A Barrier Drops for Military Women [nytimes.com]

A small but important provision of the military budget bill just signed by President Obama ends a longstanding act of discrimination against women who serve in America’s military.

Offered by Senator Jeanne Shaheen, a New Hampshire Democrat, the provision lifts a statutory ban on giving female service members insurance coverage for abortions in cases of rape and incest. Since 1988, military health plans have paid for abortions only when a pregnancy endangers a women’s life.

That policy was all the more unjustifiable given the serious and continuing problem of sexual assault among service members, and in light of the more respectful treatment accorded civilians who work for the federal government or rely on Medicaid. These nonsoldiers are allowed to use their government insurance to pay for abortions in cases of rape as well as in life-threatening situations.

The new provision does not end the difficulty that military women have in accessing safe abortion care. Next, Congress and the administration must end another longstanding restriction that prevents servicewomen from obtaining abortions at military hospitals and clinics, even if the women pay the bill. Current law bans abortions at military facilities, except in instances of rape or incest, or when a pregnancy threatens a woman’s life.

The rule is a special hardship for servicewomen stationed in foreign countries, particularly in a war zone like Afghanistan. Women serving overseas should have the same basic health care that other American women enjoy and should not have to risk their health, privacy or future career advancement in order to exercise a constitutionally protected right.

Two New York Democrats, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand and Representative Louise Slaughter, will soon be reintroducing legislation to allow women to obtain abortions on military bases with private funds. It asks members of Congress to stop burdening soldiers with ideological restrictions on their health care.


Basic Self-Defense Moves Everyone Should Know [lifehacker.com]

Would you be able to defend yourself and your loved ones if someone were to physically attack you? It’s a question most of us don’t want to consider, but violence is, unfortunately, a fact of life. Thankfully, regardless of strength, size, or previous training, anyone can learn several effective self-defense techniques. Here’s how to prepare for and stay safe in common real-world violent situations.

Prevention Is the Best Self-Defense

First, remember that prevention is the best self-defense. Attackers, whatever their objectives, are looking for unsuspecting, vulnerable targets. So be sure to follow general safety tips like being aware of your surroundings, only walking and parking in well-lit areas, keeping your keys in hand as you approach your door or car, varying your route and times of travel, and otherpersonal security precautions.

Apart from avoiding confrontation, if you can defuse a situation (talk someone down from physically assaulting you) or get away—by handing over your wallet/purse or whatever they want, do that. Hand over your money rather than fight. Nothing you own is worth more than your life or health.

If violence is unavoidable, however, to really defend yourself, you’ll want to know ahead of time how to fight back effectively—it’s possible even against someone bigger or stronger than you. Here are some basic self-defense techniques that can keep you safe:

Get Loud and Push Back

As soon as the attacker touches you or it’s clear that escape isn’t possible, shout loudly (“BACK OFF!”) and push back at him or her (for simplicity’s sake we’re going to use “him” for the rest of the article, although your opponent could be female). This does two things: it signals for help and it lets the attacker know you’re not an easy target. The video at left from Rob Redenbach, a former trainer of Nelson Mandela’s bodyguards, shows why this is the first thing you need to do. It may not dissuade all attackers, but getting loud will warn off those that were looking for easy prey.

The Most Effective Body Parts to Hit

When you’re in a confrontation, you only have a few seconds and a few moves to try before the fight may be decided. Before an attacker has gained full control of you, you must do everything you can—conserving as much energy as possible—to inflict injury so you can get away. (This is no time to be civil. In a physical confrontation that calls for self-defense, it’s hurt or be hurt.) So aim for the parts of the body where you can do the most damage easily: the eyes, nose, ears, neck, groin, knee, and legs.

Su Ericksen, who writes the very helpful Self-Defense for Women website, offers techniques for striking these pressure points so you can defend yourself and get to safety. She writes:

Depending on the position of the attacker and how close he is will determine where you will strike and with what part of your body you will employ. Do not step in closer, say, to strike his nose with your hand, when you can reach his knee with a kick.

When striking a target on the upper half of the body you will use your hand. Effective strikes can be made with the outer edge of your hand in a knife hand position, a palm strike or knuckle blow for softer targets or a tightly curled fist.

Click to read the rest of this article…

Ed Sullivan once scared the hell out of kids with a cartoon depicting the nuclear apocalypse [io9.com]

This appeared on the the website IO9 and is reposted in its entirety.  I think it is too important a message, even today, to ignore about the frailty of life and how we often stand at the edge of our own salvation or our own destruction. – hh

 — On May 27, 1956, The Ed Sullivan Show aired Peter and Joan Foldes’ apocalyptic animation A Short Vision, thereby scarring wee viewers who had no clue they had front-row seats to doomsday.

The blog CONELRAD Adjacent has assembled a detailed history of the broadcast. What’s hilarious about Ed’s decision to screen the film was the fact that he sprung A Short Vision(above) upon his audience with barely a warning. Indeed, that evening’s line-up instead promised acts like the ventriloquist Senor Wences, the “winners of the Harvest Moon dance contest and the Hasleves, acrobats.” Here’s how Ed introduced Armageddon:

[The] host was less than adamant in his parental caution on the initial broadcast. Here, verbatim, are his introductory remarks before showing what was about to become a very controversial film. Sullivan opens his comments with a timely reference to the first hydrogen bomb to be dropped from an American airplane – a feat that was trumpeted from the front pages of newspapers across the country earlier in the month of May 1956.

“Just last week you read about the H-bomb being dropped. Now two great English writers, two very imaginative writers – I’m gonna tell you if you have youngsters in the living room tell them not to be alarmed at this ‘cause it’s a fantasy, the whole thing is animated – but two English writers, Joan and Peter Foldes, wrote a thing which they called ‘A Short Vision’ in which they wondered what might happen to the animal population of the world if an H-bomb were dropped. It’s produced by George K. Arthur and I’d like you to see it. It is grim, but I think we can all stand it to realize that in war there is no winner.”

Ed Sullivan once scared the hell out of kids with a face-melting cartoon depicting the nuclear apocalypse

After the film concludes, Sullivan is standing on the stage looking knowingly at his deadly silent audience. There is then some nervous laughter as he smiles and says “See” while nodding his head (as if to say, “I told you so”) […] The day after A SHORT VISION was shown on The Ed Sullivan Show to what was reported as a 37.2 in the ratings, the New York World-Telegram and Sun ran on its second page the blaring headline “Shock Wave From A-Bomb Film Rocks Nation’s TV Audience.” And if the headline wasn’t enough, just below it was a gruesome three-panel graphic from the face melting sequence.

You can read more about Ed’s end-time antics over at CONELRAD Adjacent. Also check outthe testimonials of people who were wigged out by A Short Vision


The Complete Guide To Stupid Sexual Harassment Defense Arguments [jezebel.com]

Jezebel.com’s Lauri Apple has provided an interesting, and, inevitably, sad article about the state of sexual harassment defenses in today’s USA.  Perhaps it is not surprising that old defenses and new are still both outlandish and craptastic. Worse still is that some men still behave badly and feel no remorse about it.  Behavior doesn’t change for some… unfortunately.

 — Recently Lisa Beauchamp sued her employer, the Teamsters Local 150 in Sacramento, for sexual harassment after a union official said not-sexy sex things to her, touched her inappropriately, and traded massages with a group of “office party girls” during workplace functions. A jury found for Beauchamp, but dang—she lost on a legal technicality. Now the Teamsters’ lawyer is saying dumb things … as lawyers involved in these cases sometimes do.

What kind of dumb things? Well, The Sacramento Bee reports, the Teamsters’ lawyer believes the jury’s finding “doesn’t really mean anything, and that his client is completely exonerated.” Oh?

“There is a finding there was some harassing conduct, but they never reached the issue of whether it was severe or pervasive, or whether a reasonable person would have been offended,” attorney John C. Provost said. “So none of those issues were really reached.”

Whoa, wait: Provost’s client won because of a statute of limitations issue. The “11-woman, one-man jury” found that Beauchamp had, in fact, experienced “unwanted harassing conduct” during her employment with the union. Maybe the jurors’ decision doesn’t mean anything to Provost, but it probably means something to Beauchamp. And that should count for something, right?

The Teamster lawyer’s statement is dumb, but it’s not the worst one ever made by a defense lawyer in a sexual harassment (or sex discrimination) suit. So, what is? I don’t know! But I have found several possibilities. These 14 “defenses,” culled from the deepest, darkest corners of Google’s archives, don’t always win over the hearts and minds of juries, but they do succeed in causing nausea, outrage, and hives.

The 14 cases include:

  1. The Crybaby Defense
  2. The Nuts and Sluts Defense
  3. The “Not a Slut, Let’s Go with a Nut” Defense
  4. The Icy Bitch Defense
  5. The No Supply Closet Defense
  6. The Close Friend Defense
  7. The Juicy Emails Defense
  8. The Self-Absorbed Feminist Defense
  9. The Nosy Nellie Defense
  10. The “Silence Equals Consent” Defense
  11. The “That’s Just the Way He Is, Take It or Leave It” Defense
  12. The “Height” Defense
  13. The “Too Ugly” Defense
  14. The Greedy, Bored Cheerleader Defense

 Read the 14 cases here at Jezebel