There's a wonderful story making the rounds about 10-year old Wendell Overton, who saved a cat from being tortured to death by a group of boys ages 5 to 13. You can watch the TV footage above.
It's a heartwarming tale. Writing at Pandagon, Amanda Marcotte thinks so too. But reading the comment threads on various posts, she noticed something interesting. The commenters congratulate Wendell on what a great kid he is or condemn both the cat-torturing kids and the society that allows their abhorrent behavior to flourish. But...
Missing from the discussion: Wondering if the cat was asking for it by being so cute and easy to torture. Blaming male hormones or implying that because it’s so sexually gratifying to torture a cat, some boys can’t help themselves. Making excuses for the cat torturers by saying that they don’t understand the difference between playing with a cat who wants to play with you and torturing it. Claiming that while cat torture is bad, we shouldn’t be too eager to punish the cat torturers.
A lot of people in comments said that we should teach boys not to torture cats, specifically noting cultural changes that could be instituted to prevent cat torture. These people were not subjected to an angry flame war where they were accused of being stupid, called by misogynist or racist names, or told that they should be tortured themselves until they understood that the only way to stop cat torture is for cats to defend themselves. It was understood that cats do try to defend themselves, but unfortunately, self-defense is sometimes not enough to prevent cat torture. It was accepted that cat torture is a crime that is cultural in origin, and that by changing the culture, we can prevent it.
By now it should be obvious where Marcotte is going. It's a brilliant analogy and a great read. So read the whole thing.
German lingerie company Blush just released this commercial on the one year anniversary of Pussy Riot's Russian protests. But did German lingerie company ever ask Pussy Riot, both the imprisoned and free, if THEY wanted their powerful image used to sell expensive push-up bras? Hmm...
Watch Pussy Riot's latest interview on CBS's '60 Minutes' on Lineout.
Ever read/like/repost things from the Facebook page I Fucking Love Science? It's highly likely you have, since the page has 4.2 million "Likes" and posts smart, interesting, funny science facts and stories multiple times a day, in easy-to-digest meme-style images that get shared thousands of times apiece. They show up in my feed all the time.
Well, this week, the admin of the page, Elise Andrew, posted a link to her brand-new Twitter feed. If you didn't just LOSE YOUR MIND when you noticed that's a female first name, congratulations! You win the internet today. Thousands of commenters on her page, however, appear to have nearly died with shock. A woman?!? Who likes science?!? Also: She appears to be young and pretty. OH, SHIT.
From the Guardian (she's a Brit):
The post provoked an onslaught of comments discussing her gender and looks. "F.ck me! This is a babe ?!!" wrote commenter Can Durace. "holy hell, youre a HOTTIE!" wrote Douglas Pistone Linares.
Lou Forbes said: "you mean you're a girl, AND you're beautiful? wow, i just liked science a lil bit more today ^^"
When she reposted that Guardian story on Twitter, it went like this:
@Elise_Andrew: A Guardian blogger wrote about all the sexist comments I got on my post earlier, check it out.
@charlespratt: @Elise_Andrew A lot of those comments were just compliments. I mean you are an attractive woman. Doesn't make it sexist, dear.
Good lord, jerks. This shit is tiring. But Andrew seems wonderful. A recent tweet: "Bored of the whole sexism thing. For the rest of the day I will only be tweeting photos of nudibranchs."
Thank you, Slog tipper Casey, for sending along this story roundup of women getting items stuck in their vaginas. It is an eye opener:
Anna advised that I squat on the floor like one of those natural childbirth La Leche people, and it worked. It was there. It was far. I had never reached that far. It was gross-far, nearing the anus zone far. The tampon was soaked. I dripped on the floor. It was thick and brown and foul. I wanted to say it smelled sort of like Vegemite tastes, but that's too kind. I wanted to say it reeked of August at the Pearl River Harbor, where I'd lived as a kid and where my brother had sworn he'd seen a dead body floating. It was so much worse, though. The only odor I really felt was equivalent was a Cantonese street food called "stinky tofu," a fermented tofu renowned for smelling like rotting fish meets sewage meets Black Death. (Hong Kong motto: why worry how foul something seems when you put it inside you if you know you'll manage to make it nastier on its way out?) Every droplet on the floor seemed to unleash the stench of a mile long stretch of stinky tofu stalls, and every few minutes it would be too much to bear and I'd have to wash my hands and spray more Glade start over again.
Two years later, Tkacik wrote about losing a second tampon in her vagina...
I once had to help a very good friend remove a sea sponge from her twat but I'll spare you the gory details (okay, one gory detail: spaghetti tongs). The article cites women's vaginas consuming tampons, a live slug (!!!), dimes, a cell phone, even garlic with the unforgiving finality of the La Brea Tar Pits. I had no idea this was a common occurrence, let alone a social epidemic.
When I did not smile (I continued looking for my keys in my purse and avoided all eye contact, in fact), he told me my "pretty face was going to waste."
I kept walking, I did not want to interact with him. In hindsight, I wish I would've responded like this (his words are the stuffed toy, I am the puppy who has had enough):
Yesterday evening, I posted two photos that I took this week of what was clear evidence that aliens are currently abducting/vaporizing ladies in wooded areas. This morning, Slog Tipper Gage was on the case with new evidence, snapped recently at a bus stop in the U-District:
The epidemic is spreading to urban areas. I'm upgrading my tin-foil hat to a tin-foil umbrella.
That's really the only interpretation I have for these two separate scenes I stumbled across in two different wooded areas this week. The shoes were found in Woodland Park, the negligee at a rest stop off I-90. I'm currently building an elaborate tin-foil hat for protection.
This cartoon, courtesy of Slog tipper Bill, is not only a great response to the Steubenville rape trial, it's spun me off into fantasies about dressing like a giant pink uterus who stalks through town, egging rapists with my righteous fallopian arms.
Obviously, since my fallopian arms would be full of eggs, and egging rapists is thirsty business, I would need to be wearing a beer hat. OBVIOUSLY.
As mentioned in Sunday Morning News, the two Stubenville teenagers charged with raping a 16-year-old student were found guilty this morning.
CNN's Candy Crowley and Poppy Harlowe reported on the verdict by pointing out what a tragedy this whole situation is, especially because of how sad the young men were when the verdict was delivered.
Harlow explained that it had been “incredibly difficult” to watch “as these two young men — who had such promising futures, star football players, very good students — literally watched as they believed their life fell apart.”
“One of the young men, Ma’lik Richmond, as that sentence came down, he collapsed,” the CNN reporter recalled, adding that the convicted rapist told his attorney that “my life is over, no one is going to want me now.”
At that point, CNN played video of Richmond crying and hugging his lawyer in the courtroom.
“I was sitting about three feet from Ma’lik when he gave that statement,” Harlow said. “It was very difficult to watch.”
OH HOW SAD. Is this guilty verdict really what turned you into a horrible person, Ma'lik? Is the judge delivering the guilty verdict the worst point of their young lives? NO. The reason you're horrible, the reason your life is ruined, is because you thought it was okay to rape a young woman, a fellow student.
I know it makes for dramatic news stories, recalling all the emotion in the courtroom, but let's stop pretending that a rapist's life is ruined the moment he or she is caught, convicted, and forced to register as a sex offender for the remainder of their life. Let's stop giving their grief any amount of attention or compassion. Getting caught isn't what makes a rapist a monster. Their life was ruined the moment they decided to rape another human being.
I haven't written about the ongoing Steubenville rape trial here on Slog—even though I know you guys have been HOWLING for more rape coverage—because reading about it makes me want to drink heavily in my crying closet. But it's important, so here we go.
"Swear to God I don't remember doing anything with them," the girl wrote to a friend, a boy who authorities say saw the assaults. "I wasn't being a slut. They were taking advantage of me."
In a text to a boy who lives in the house where the second attack is said to have happened, Mays wrote: "Just say she came to your house and passed out."
The coach "took care of it," Mays said in one text introduced by prosecutors.
"Like he was joking about it so I'm not worried," Mays said in another text.
One of the witnesses, a 17-year-old, told Judge Thomas Lipps that he used his cell phone to record Mays putting his fingers inside the girl's vagina during a drive from one party to another. The boy said he deleted the video the next morning when he realized it was wrong.
... The teen also told the court Mays later attempted to have the girl perform a sex act on him in the basement of a home, where they ended up after the initial alleged incident in the car.
"She didn't really respond to it," he said.
One [text] message asked Mays: "Did u do it?"
He responded, according to [a computer forensic investigator named Joann] Gibb: "No, lol. She could barely move."
Still another graphic message from Mays to a friend appeared to detail his anger over being accused of rape.
"I'm pissed all I got was a hand job, though. I should have raped since everyone thinks I did," the message said, according to Gibb.
I keep returning to this point: Regardless of whether 16-year-old Ma'Lik Richmond and 17-year-old Trent Mays are found guilty as charged of digitally penetrating the allegedly drunk teen in their company (an act that constitutes rape in Ohio), there's no question in my mind that she was thoroughly degraded. Re-read those text messages. Look at that blurry photograph that shows her being slung around like big game, or dead meat. A trophy. Plenty of people took notice of her that night but seemingly didn't attempt to stop what was happening (if they tried, we have to assume it wasn't very hard).
Perhaps Richmond and Mays were prompted by malice when they decided to cart her around all evening, or perhaps they were raised to believe that women really are humanish playthings and this was their fucked-up version of a lighthearted game. The end result was the same—this poor teenager was objectified and humiliated by seemingly everyone she came into contact with that night. She was in a bad situation, she needed help, and she didn't receive it.
Even if Richmond and Mays are found guilty, how do you find peace after a betrayal of that magnitude? When what feels like half a town witnessed you helpless, and vulnerable, and failed to act? When you can't remember what was done to you? When you'll never know for certain what exactly happened?
The 2013 edition of Geek Girl Con is now taking submissions for panel ideas. They're looking for topics as varied as science, media, business, sci-fi, comics, film, computer programming, and sports. You can pitch your ideas at their website through May 15. This year's Geek Girl Con will take place at Washington State Convention Center's Conference Center on October 19 and 20; you can buy tickets here.
BISMARCK, N.D. — The North Dakota Senate on Friday approved banning abortions as early as six weeks into a pregnancy, sending what would be the most stringent abortion restrictions in the U.S. to the state’s Republican governor for his signature.
The measure would ban most abortions if a fetal heartbeat can be detected, something that can happen as early as six weeks into a pregnancy. The House already approved the measure. Gov. Jack Dalrymple generally opposes abortion but has not said whether he will sign the bill into law.
To put things in perspective:
so we are clear, North Dakota just banned abortion less than 2 weeks after a missed period. In a state with 1 clinic. w/24hr wait— robinmarty (@robinmarty) March 15, 2013
If North Dakota Governor Dalrymple signs this bill into law, it'll basically ban abortion in North Dakota.
The New York Times has an interesting look at the effects of sexist language North Korea is using against South Korea's first female president, Park Geun-hye, whose "venomous swish of skirt" North Korea recently called out as partly responsible for rising tensions between the countries:
The North Koreans, masters of outrageous propaganda, no doubt picked their phrase carefully for the South’s first female president. “Swish of skirt” was long an insult in Korean culture, directed at women deemed too aggressive, far from the traditional ideal of docile and coy.
“North Korea is taunting and testing her,” said Choi Jin, head of the Institute of Presidential Leadership in Seoul. “It’s an important test for her at home, too. People supported her for being a strong leader, but they also have a lingering doubt about whether their first female president will be as good in national security as she sounds.”
The sexist barb is one small piece of the early challenge the North has posed for Ms. Park, who came into office just after Pyongyang detonated its third nuclear test and has spent her first three weeks in office managing increasingly fraught relations between the two countries.
Does her gender matter to leaders in North Korea? To citizens in the South? Experts in the article disagree.
Despite assuring women that he totally supports a bill requiring insurance carriers to equally cover pregnancy and abortion costs in their insurance plans—and will do whatever he can to get the recently passed House bill passed in the Senate—State Senator Rodney Tom (Fucking Weasel, Medina) has instead maneuvered to effectively kill the bill.
You see, as Senate Majority Leader (a position he also attained with his weasely prowess), Tom is responsible for assigning bills to the appropriate Senate committees. And instead of assigning the Reproductive Parity Act to the Senate's Financial Institutions, Housing & Insurance committee where it was promised a fair hearing and vote from the committee's Democratic chair, Tom instead sent the bill to the Senate's Healthcare Committee, headed by anti-choice Sen. Randi Becker (R-Eatonville).
Becker has scheduled a hearing on the bill for April 1, but given that her nine-person committee includes five Republicans, and only one Republican senator has stepped up to support this legislation (Sen. Steve Litzow—who's not part of the healthcare committee), there's little hope of the RPA making it to the Senate floor for a vote.
Christ, what a rat-faced weasel Tom is.
In case you missed this story over the weekend like I did, here's your morning dose of awesome parenting:
When Mike Mika saw the disappointment on his daughter's face when she realized Pauline wasn't a playable character in Donkey Kong, he felt a call to action. Thankfully Mika happens to be a competent developer, and after a few late-night hours spent hacking the NES version of Nintendo's classic, he accomplished the role reversal his daughter had wished for. Mario was now under Donkey Kong's control, and Pauline was tasked with rescuing the plumber in distress.
(WARNING: As is usually the case, if you want to continue feeling good about humanity, you shouldn't read the comments on The Verge post, as it has been hijacked by dipshit "men's rights" morons making dumbass false equivalency comments about replacing Lara Croft with Larry Croft for the sake of fairness and so on.)
I know I should be angry about this poster, which basically argues that women's bodies—like the one I'm wearing now!—are public playgrounds. But it reads as if whoever designed it doesn't have a solid grasp of what words mean. (Which religion? Faith and reason, wha? How is "my body, my choice" contradicted by science???).
I see terms like "modern myth," and "contrary to both faith and reason," I feel both charmed and flattered. I'm a unicorn! All women capable of independent thought are unicorns! And the thing about unicorns is, only an idiot would be caught arguing with them.
From what I can deduce via the internets, the man who's slapping these up around Ballard is probably a security guard for Seattle Pacific University who says he graduated from "Life University." So, you know, no surprises there.
Thanks to slog tipper z.
For the past hour, my coworker and fellow box-haver Anna Minard and I have been mulling over an important question: Is it worth blogging about an event that neither of us really endorse primarily to make a stupid joke about patrons of Mars Hill Church doubling as patrons of DeJa Vu?
The answer appears to be yes.
So if you're planning your weekly Mars Hill Church/DeJa Vu double header (HAR HAR), take note—a group called Stop Patriarchy is planning to protest both Mars Hill and DeJa Vu this Saturday in honor of International Women's Day:
We’re going to be protesting several sites that represent the war on women, and how that war is intensifying. The first place we plan to protest is Mars Hill Church…then we will make our presence known in front of the Deja Vu Showgirls strip club/porn store. In between those spots we will be stopping at bus stops to speak out and protest rape and sexual assault. From Delhi to Ohio, and everywhere else, from the global epidemic of rape, to the attacks on abortion rights, from the burkha [sp] to the thong…if you are not fighting the war on women, you are condoning it!
Minard and I both perused Stop Patriarchy Now's blog and both of us came away... bemused. (Burkas and thongs are categorically bad? Explain, please.) I'm not going to argue with the assertion that Mars Hill is a pile of patriarchal bullshit, but Stop Patriarchy does a pretty poor job of explaining why they landed on Mars Hill and DeJa Vu as targets for their protest. It feels like the instigators chose popular targets for controversy and then manufactured their rage, rather than launching a protest with the goal of a specific change. For instance, one flyer simply reads: "Protest Showgirls/Deja Vu for selling women and porn—which is not about eroticism and sexual exploration but about sexualized violence against and humiliation of women and girls and helps fuel the world-wide epidemic of rape."
Um, what? What about the women employed by DeJa Vu who might actually like their jobs and see their jobs as a source of empowerment? (I'm trying to get ahold of some of these women to get their take on this weekend's upcoming protest.)
Call me a lapdog of patriarchy, but Stop Patriarchy has failed to convince me that they're being at all thoughtful in their approach to actually stopping patriarchy.
As I wrote in this feature, Catholic hospitals are taking over local hospitals, imposing their religious morals on patients' healthcare, and denying access certain legal treatments (abortions, information about physician-assisted suicide, even access to birth control) to their patients.
The ACLU of Washington has created two maps that depict the reaches of religious healthcare in Washington state. The first map shows what counties are currently dominated by religious hospitals. (As you can see, it includes the most populous counties.)
The second map shows what will happen should 10 proposed Catholic hospital mergers be completed in western Washington.
Basically, the difference between the two maps is that all hospitals in Skagit, Snohomish, and Kitsap county would become religiously affiliated, as well as over 50 percent of hospitals in Grays Harbor. This means that in these counties, accessing comprehensive healthcare could become much harder as residents find themselves at the brutal mercy of the Catholic church.
For more information on what the ACLU of Washington is doing to raise awareness about the potential impacts of these mergers, go here.
An Oklahoma woman arrested Monday on drug charges had a loaded handgun hidden in her vagina, according to police.
The weapon was discovered during a search of Christie Dawn Harris, 28, by a female officer with the Ada Police Department. According to a police report, the cop spotted the handle of the five-shot revolver "sticking out from" inside Harris, who is seen at right.
... The Freedom Arms .22-caliber handgun was loaded with three live rounds and one spent shell, cops reported. As to where the weapon was recovered, the police report noted, “gun located in suspect vagina.”
But instead of taking it in stride (unfortunately being the butt of jokes is part of the job of being a mega-superstar), Swift addressed the comments Tina Fey and Amy Poehler made at the Golden Globes (about how Swift should or shouldn't date Michael J. Fox's son after having just broken up with rumored boyfriend Harry "One Direction" Styles) by saying:
You know, Katie Couric is one of my favorite people, because she said to me she had heard a quote that she loved, that said, “There’s a special place in hell for women who don’t help other women.
I agree! I mean, if Hell existed I would agree. But yes, the sentiment is true. Women who go out of their way to be against other women are lame. And I'd totally be on Team Taylor here, if only she hasn't built a career on singing about how awful women are. Swift's catalog is filled with tales about women who are standing in the way of her and her dreams. They're keeping her from her perfect man or otherwise threatening her happiness.
I love-love-love this week's Stranger cover, by photographer Danny Ghitis. Seems he shot the photo in Harlem Valley, north of New York City. It immediately reminded me of a photo—of a woman I saw at The Evergreen Speedway in Monroe this past summer. Oh, The Mighty Mom Mullet!
Which mom mullet is mightier? East Coast, or West Coast?
Expect some epic Geekiness
-Tunes by DJ PBear
-Raffling some great prizes as a fundraiser benefiting Lambert House for homeless gay youth
-More details coming soon
We will also have some special guests including:
Tony Akins (Wonder Woman DC 52 artist)
Chris Lange (capitol hillbillies)
Sounds like a blast!
This NYT article is heartbreaking:
Even as the Pentagon lifts the ban on women in combat roles, returning servicewomen are facing a battlefield of a different kind: they are now the fastest growing segment of the homeless population, an often-invisible group bouncing between sofa and air mattress, overnighting in public storage lockers, living in cars and learning to park inconspicuously on the outskirts of shopping centers to avoid the violence of the streets.
While male returnees become homeless largely because of substance abuse and mental illness, experts say that female veterans face those problems and more, including the search for family housing and an even harder time finding well-paying jobs. But a common pathway to homelessness for women, researchers and psychologists said, is military sexual trauma, or M.S.T., from assaults or harassment during their service, which can lead to post-traumatic stress disorder.
Sexual trauma set Ms. Jackson on her path. At first she thought she could put “the incident” behind her: that cool August evening outside Suwon Air Base in South Korea when, she said, a serviceman grabbed her by the throat in the ladies’ room of a bar and savagely raped her on the urine-soaked floor. But during the seven years she drifted in and out of homelessness, she found she could not forget.
Please, go read the whole thing.
This morning, after a bit of hand-wringing musical theater from Republicans, the U.S. House of Reps finally did its job and passed the Senate's version of the Violence Against Women Act. The vote was 286 to 138. Eighty-seven Republicans voted in favor of the bill; no Democrats voted against it. Now all it needs is Obama's signature to seal the deal.
This is a huge victory for our Washington state Senators, Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell, who lobbied hard to get the bill passed. A little history from the Washington Post:
The law has been renewed twice before without controversy, but it lapsed in 2011 as it was caught up in the partisan battles that now divide Congress. Last year, the House refused to go along with a Senate-passed bill that would have made clear that lesbians, gays, immigrants and Native American women should have equal access to Violence Against Women Act programs.
It appeared the scenario would be repeated this year when the House introduced a bill that didn’t mention the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community and watered down a Senate provision allowing tribal courts to prosecute non-Indians who attack their Indian partners on tribal lands.
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., who has spent months working on the issue, defended the Republican plan: “Our goal in strengthening the Violence Against Women Act is simple. We want to help all women who are faced with violent, abusive and dangerous situations. ... We want them to know that those who commit these horrendous crimes will be punished.”
"This is a major victory for women and especially for Native, LGBT, and immigrant women," said Chris Stearns, chairman of the Seattle Human Rights Commission. "Combined with the pounding the Republicans took at the polls from women, Hispanics, blacks, and Native Americans, they had no choice this year to start dealing. The possibility of losing elections for the forseeable future meant that the House leadership had to change their strategy or face extinction. In short, the  election changed everything."
Oh hey! Good news ladies! After thoughtful prayer, Republicans in Indiana have decided that women seeking abortions only need one unnecessary vaginal probe with every abortion, instead of two!
Sen. Ron Alting, R-Lafayette, sponsored the move to drop the second ultrasound and replace it with a requirement that doctors perform "appropriate testing." Alting said that would give doctors the option of performing blood or urine tests on their patients.
"I think that physicians know a little bit more about that particular area than legislators," Alting said.
HAHAHA, YOU THINK?
Meanwhile, when it comes to male reproductivity:
Republicans turned aside proposed amendments from outnumbered Democrats that would have mandated certain medical exams before a doctor could prescribe erectile dysfunction drugs to men and would have extended requirements for abortion clinic facilities to offices that treat infertility and erectile dysfunction.
Daily Kos notes that the amended bill passed the Indiana state Senate yesterday and now heads to the state's Republican-controlled House for a vote.
Thanks again to Slog tipper Bill.
As Dylan Matthews writes: "Interestingly, many blue collar professions—such as cafeteria work, security guard work, and warehouse stock clerking—are the most egalitarian in their compensation, while female white collar professionals like doctors, stock brokers, and insurance saleswomen face among the worst pay gaps around."
The one that surprises me is "retail sales." Women earn 64.3 percent what men earn in that field.
A college sophomore at the University of North Carolina is being sent to the school’s “Honor Court” and may be expelled for speaking publicly about her rape.
University officials are alleging that Landen Gambill is being “disruptive” or “intimidating” her rapist by going public with her story of sexual assault, despite the fact that Gambill has not even publicly identified her rapist.
Well, fuck. I'm totally speechless.
On behalf of The Onion, I offer my personal apology to Quvenzhané Wallis and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for the tweet that was circulated last night during the Oscars. It was crude and offensive—not to mention inconsistent with The Onion’s commitment to parody and satire, however biting.
No person should be subjected to such a senseless, humorless comment masquerading as satire.
The tweet was taken down within an hour of publication. We have instituted new and tighter Twitter procedures to ensure that this kind of mistake does not occur again.
In addition, we are taking immediate steps to discipline those individuals responsible.
Miss Wallis, you are young and talented and deserve better. All of us at The Onion are deeply sorry.
What do you think about all this?
It's things like this that make me proud to be of Irish descent. I think. The lede:
An Irish publican has been prosecuted after police found dozens of "nuns" drinking illegally, several hours past closing time on his premises.
Christy Walsh, who runs the bar in Listowel, County Kerry, has been fined a total of 700 euros (£605) after his pub was raided twice in one night.
He had helped to organise a charity event in the town last July, in which hundreds of people dressed up as nuns.