Category Archives: Thought Provoking

Defining Terrorism: Anti-Choicers to Al Qaeda?

Vigil for Dr. Tiller in Lawrence Kansas (image from the Lawrence Journal-World)

Vigil for Dr. Tiller in Lawrence Kansas (image from the Lawrence Journal-World)

Many members of the pro-choice community have urged the Justice Department to treat Sunday’s events as an act of domestic terrorism.  At first, I thought “of course!”  As I’ve done more reading and heard the perspectives of some constitutional law scholars interviewed in the media I’ve become considerably more ambivalent about this.  Make no mistake, I feel that Dr. Tiller’s death is deeply tragic, but I remain unsure about labeling this event as “terrorism.”  I have two concerns about the expanding definition of terrorism, one is tied to civil liberties and ‘thought policing’ and the second is more political.

First my concerns about calling Dr. Tiller’s death terrorism:  On Monday, Rachel Maddow interviewed George Washington University law professor Jonathan Turley.  He suggested that under the Bush administration the definition of “terrorism” expanded to include many, many crimes.  Turley also feels that murder or assination are not exactly the same thing as terrorism especially given that the Supreme Court has protected violent speech.  Perhaps a better category would be to call Roeder’s crime a “hate crime” defined as:

Hate crimes… occur when a perpetrator targets a victim because of his or her perceived membership in a certain social group, usually defined by racial group, religion, sexual orientation, disability, ethnicity, nationality, age, gender, gender identity, or political affiliation.

A “hate crime” can take two forms: “hate crime” generally refers to criminal acts which are seen to have been motivated by hatred of one or more of the listed conditions. The second kind is hate speech, which is speech defined as crime. While hate crimes are rarely debated, the hate speech concept is controversial, as criminalizing speech can be seen as impugning freedom of speech. Incidents may involve physical assault, damage to property, bullying, harassment, verbal abuse or insults, or offensive graffiti or letters.

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Filed under Discourse, Pro-Choice, Thought Provoking

Back Soon… I think

Back Soon” from Frengo2.0’s Flickr Stream.  Licensed under the Creative Commons.

The semester is just about over, the election is behind us, and I’m feeling confident that Barack Obama is going to keep the world’s uteruses safe (for the time being).  I’ve so enjoyed sharing this space with you all and having to form (what I hope are) cogent thoughts on American political issues.

I’m finished with the class I started this blog for and am trying to decide what to do with the space.  The content here doesn’t easily fit into my personal blog, BashfullyDesigned, but I am not sure that I can keep up a commitment to this space too…  In the next few days I’m planning to figure out just what this space will be used for– in many ways it is as much a part of my life as Bashful but there are ways in which the tone I take here is hard to keep up– that kind of perpetual criticism is exhausting, don’t you think?

Stay tuned, I wont leave you hanging like this, I swear.  Plus, there are all sorts of rumors and speculation swirling about the inauguration and I’ll be following those like crazy.

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Filed under Class Work, Thought Provoking

Feeling Thankful

First, please allow me to appologize for my silence here lately.  Now that the election is over and Obama is doing all the right things, well… some of the pressure is off.  However, I just saw HBO’s Iron Jawed Angels and… well, it might be the red wine, but I loved it.  Sure, it was a little corny and the soundtrack hardly matched the era but I’m a sucker for a powerful story.

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about feminism (er, Feminism?) and what it means to me.  After all, almost nothing I’m doing right now would have been possible without incredible sacrifice by brave, powerful women who came before me.  I’m unmarried but living with a man I love, I am getting an MA at a Major East Coast University, I control my reproductive system, and voted in the last election.

So, stay with me, this may take a while.

In many ways I am not an expert on gender theory or politics—I tended to doze through my classes on feminist art criticism in college; I’ve resisted the term feminist longer than many of my peers; and it is hard for me to get angry about someone using the phrase “you guys” instead of “you all.”  Also, and this may not make me popular with the feminist blogosphere, I think that American women have it pretty good– not in every way, and not perfect, but pretty good.  Hillary Clinton, after all, could only put “18 million cracks in that last glass ceiling” years after many countries, even countries generally considered hostile to women’s rights embraced female leadership.

As the daughter of a quiet second-wave feminist, I grew up wearing T-shirts that said “little me” and reading books about powerful, historic women (Nellie Bly and Margaret Sanger continue to be an inspiration).  I had no doubt that America will see a female president in my lifetime; I supported Barack Obama from day one and never looked back.  Until, that is, I had the opportunity to meet a woman named Michele who worked as an underground abortion counselor in the late 1960s in Minnesota.  Continue reading

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Filed under Feminism, Sexism and Media, Thought Provoking

Does the White House Have Wi-Fi?

So, in case anyone was wondering if the comparisons between Obama and FDR were a little, oh… too soon, I bring you– the YouTube chat.  Perhaps these are not yet as effective as the Fireside Chat FDR made famous, but I think that long term these could be a really good way for Obama to appera accessible, circumvent the pundits, and possibly remain as sympathetic a character as he was on the campaign trail.  In fact, it looks like ChangeDotGov is going to keep its own YouTube channel operating.  I hope they can continue to do this throughout the administration.  However, given the importance of archiving and documentation I worry that these ephemeral forms of media will be too risky for the antiquated archiving system used by the Govt. Continue reading

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Filed under Discourse, Thought Provoking

A Love Letter to NPR’s “On the Media”

Right On Red on NPRs On the Media

"Right On Red" on NPR's "On the Media"

I hope you all listen to NPR’s “On the Media” every week– it (along with CBC’s “Search Engine“) consistently amazes me with its ability to hit the zeitgeist nail on the head.  This week’s episode is worth a listen, they discuss the Obama campaign’s online outreach work, talk about the world’s reaction to now President-Elect Obama, and talk about the growing split in the GOP.  Basically, I use these as Cliff Notes to my education…

I mean, good lord they’re both free podcasts and you’ll sound super informed and incredibly smart at those cocktail parties and/or in class.

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Filed under 2008 Election, Thought Provoking

Photographing Hope, Change, and a Little Advice

Peace to You by Veggirl38

"Peace to You" by Veggirl38

While procrastinating this morning I came across this Flickr Pool, A Message to Obama, sponsored by the UK newspaper The Guardian.  Not all of the photos hold messages that are supportive, but all the photos seem honest, which is a nice change from snarky irony.

Dear President Obama by strange.little.mama

"Dear President Obama" by strange.little.mama

I’d meant to show you some photos of the Planned Parenthood “This is what it feels like” project (also on Flickr) but got way too distracted reading the positive/supportive messages in this pool.  I’ll show you the Planned Parenthood photos later…

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Filed under 2008 Election, Thought Provoking

Yes. We. Did.

A Simple Sticker For a Monumental Right from the New York Times Polling Place Photography Project.

"I Voted: A Simple Sticker For a Monumental Right" from the New York Times' Polling Place Photography Project.

And then, suddenly, I knew that cynicism and doubt have faded and that we made history.  My friends in DC walked to the White House, my friends in Seattle sang the national anthem in the street with hundreds of strangers, Jon and I didn’t know if we should be dancing or crying.  This must be what true, honest patriotism feels like.

Today, instead of posting a photo of the front pages of the papers, I wanted to show you some of the photos from The New York Times‘ Polling Place Photography Project.  They are an incredible reminder of how varied America and Americans are but, inside the voting booth, all (wo)men are created equal. Continue reading

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Filed under 2008 Election, Thought Provoking