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Archive for the ‘Gender Issues’ Category

The mid-terms are just a couple of weeks away.  There are some that predict that the Republicans will gain control of the Senate.  While others say it is still possible for the Democrats to keep it.  There are some conservatives that are almost giddy over the prospect of taking over the Senate.  Due to the gerrymandered districts, it is almost impossible for the Democrats to take over the House.

The real fact of the matter is that it really doesn’t matter if the Republicans take the Senate.  All it will mean is that the stagnation we have seen in Washington since Obama became President will get even worse.  All it will mean is that the Republicans will use their “hostage taking” practices even more than they have in the past.  That is not a good way to run a country.

We all know that the vast majority of the Republican agenda would not be signed by the current president.  Even if they take the Senate, the Republicans won’t have enough votes to over ride vetoes.  That means in general nothing will get done, except a lot more President Obama bashing.

There has been a lot of talk about the differences between the Republicans and Democrats during this cycle.  But, in my opinion, all of this talk has missed the point totally.  This isn’t about traditional Conservative vs. Progressive politics.  This is about whether or not we live in a country with equal rights and justice for everyone.  It is about whether or not we continue to be one of, if not the, true democracy in the world.  If the current batch Republicans were ever to win both houses of Congress and the White House, our democracy will take a drastic turn for the worst.

If you take a few minutes to look and listen to the current Republican Party, you will hear nothing but hate and discontent towards everyone who doesn’t agree with their backwards thinking.  If you believe income inequality is wrong, you are against Republican candidates.  If you believe that people should be allowed to marry whom they want, regardless of race, religion, or sex, you are against Republican candidates.  If you believe that women together with their families and doctors should be allowed to decide on whether or not to have an abortion, you are against Republican candidates.

Republicans have waged a war against women’s rights for decades.  They have fought against the right for workers to unionize for decades.  They have fought to force Conservative Christian Cult’s beliefs on the rest of society.  They are fear mongering idiots who believe that the only way to win an election is to take the right to vote away from different groups of people who just might vote Democratic.

The current batch of Republicans have formed an evil alliance between Conservative Christian Cult, Ultra-Conservative billionaires, Tea Party, and Racists.  Sorry, but that is the only way to describe this alliance.  Conservative Christian Cult members want to force their brand of Christianity on everyone else.  If you don’t follow their religious beliefs, you are considered a Christian in Name Only (CINO).  They say they are against the government meddling in your religious beliefs.  Yet they want a “Personhood” amendment that would totally ban abortions.  Even if your religious beliefs says it is okay.  They are against marriage equality.  They are even against the right of gays to live in peace.

The Tea Party is the ultra-conservative wing of the Republicans.  They will tell you that if you are not a Tea Party Member, you are a Republican in Name Only (RINO).  They just want to form a government that throws the poor under the bus.  You will hear all kinds of arguments against Welfare, Medicaid, Medicare, Social Security, and Taxes.  But you won’t hear a word about the subsidies given to oil companies, utilities, farmers, etc.  These people also want government “out of our lives”.  Yet they are also against abortion and equal marriage rights.  It seems like every time a Tea Party candidate talks about liberty, they are demanding that about half of the country’s population not be allowed those same liberties.

The billionaire club led by the Koch Brothers simply want to form a dictatorship based on the philosophy that the country should return to the “good ole days” of the 19th century and the Robber Barons.  It is perfectly right for them to make millions of dollars every year, but the rest of us should have to work our asses off just to get by on $2 per hour.  It is the Tea Party and the Billionaires who want to eliminate the minimum wage and pass laws outlawing unions.

I don’t think we have to discuss much about the Racists.  You just need to look at the voter suppression laws that have been passed in several states to know their agenda.

In this mid-term election, one party is screaming about liberty all the while they are passing laws that take liberty away from anyone who isn’t like them.  They are screaming about getting government out of our lives, all the while they are passing laws that put government in the lives of women.  They are preaching about the American dream all the while they are fighting laws like raising the minimum wage and the Paycheck Fairness Act.

They have been screaming about our “porous southern border” but say nothing about our porous northern border.  They claim that Ebola will wipe us off the face of the planet, yet they continue to cut funding for the CDC and NIH.  They wanted a “Czar” for the fight against Ebola, yet screamed when one was named.  Their hypocrisy has no limits.  They believe that if they continue to fear monger, we will fall for their demagoguery.

In the last several years The Republican Party has seen a renaissance.  Unfortunately, unlike the renaissance in the past, this isn’t one of enlightenment, it is a return to the Dark Ages where religion and the wealthy rule the country.  We have already seen places that prove the Republican Platform is destructive to liberties and opportunity.  Just look at Kansas and Wisconsin.  These were supposed to be Conservative Republican utopias.  Yet they have turned out to be anything but utopia for the common citizen of the state.

There is still time to fight back.  To use their own phrase, “it is time to take our country back.”  This time we need to take it back from this evil alliance and restore freedom and democracy to the greatest country in the world.  But, we can’t do that unless you go to the polls and vote this mid-term.  Let the Republican Party know that they cannot bullshit us anymore with their fear mongering and their lies.  We have grown past the 19th century and refuse to go back.

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So, you think that all of those “stand your ground” laws will help protect women who are victims of domestic abuse.  If you believe that, you are very tragically wrong.  Two cases, one in South Carolina, and one in Florida prove that stand your ground does not include domestic abuse victims.

In South Carolina, there is a case of a women who stabbed her partner when he tried to keep her from leaving for good with her belongings.  The incident took place right after he beat her and dragged her down the street by her hair.  The prosecutor says the “stand your ground law” does not absolve her from her crime of murder.  Problem is that according to how the law is written, she is correct.

The case began one night in November 2012, Whitlee Jones fatally stabbed her partner, Eric Lee. She has testified that she did not mean to kill Lee when she issued the fatal wound, but that she only meant to fend him off while he blocked her from exiting the house with her belongings, attempting to leave him for good.

In a very lengthy report in the Charleston Post and Courier, neighbors saw Lee rip Jones’ weave from her head, saw it fall to the pavement across which he yanked her while she screamed. One witness called the police. Officers arrived while Jones hid outside the house; they spoke only with Lee, who said that their altercation never turned physical. The police left, and Jones returned to grab her things and go, forever. She later told police that her partner tried to attack her while she was leaving the house for the second time that night. So, allegedly fearing for her life, she stabbed him.

A Judge’s ruling granted Jones immunity in the murder case in accordance with the state’s Protection of Persons and Property Act — otherwise known as its “stand your ground” law.  But, the South Carolina prosecutors are appealing the ruling saying that the 2006 SYG law does not apply to housemates in episodes of domestic violence, as that was not the legislation’s original purpose.

“[The Legislature’s] intent … was to provide law-abiding citizens greater protections from external threats in the form of intruders and attackers,” Assistant Solicitor Culver Kidd, the case’s lead prosecutor, told The Post and Courier. “We believe that applying the statute so that its reach into our homes and personal relationships is inconsistent with [its] wording and intent.”

Taking the law’s wording literally, they are correct.  The law states that the “presumption of fear” necessary for one to take aggressive force does not apply when the person “against whom the deadly force is used has the right to be in or is a lawful resident of the dwelling.”  According to this wording, you are not allowed to use stand your ground against your partner even if that partner is beating you or trying to kill you.

You may ask way would such wording would be included in a law like this?  Well, wording like this happens when you don’t consider women to be people with rights.  If you think that women don’t deserve protection from being abused, you make sure they cannot hide behind stand your ground laws.

The second case is in Florida.  Angela Corey of Florida, the attorney who prosecuted George Zimmerman for the murder of Trayvon Martin is currently attempting to put Marissa Alexander, a mother of three who fired a “warning shot” at her abusive husband, in prison for 60 years. Alexander has been refused immunity under the state’s SYG law twice — the first time because the court found that she did not have a “reasonable” fear for her life, and the second because the judge refused to retroactively apply changes to the law that made provisions for warning shots. She did not injure anyone and, at the time of the incident, had a protective order against her partner, who previously admitted under oath to beating her.

So the fact that her partner had acknowledged that he beat her, and that he had violated an order to stay away from her, does not constitute her having a “reasonable” fear for her life.  Of course, anyone with only half of a brain would say differently.  But, that is what happens when a judge decides what is reasonable fear and what isn’t based on archaic beliefs of women and their status in society.  Apparently he believes that getting abused by your partner is not “reasonable” fear.

Whether or not the rulings in these cases are legally correct or not, the fact of the matter is that even when states attempt to let people kill others because they fear for their lives, it does not include women who live in abusive homes.  That is what is wrong with the whole domestic abuse situation.  If we are truly going to get a grip on this problem, things like these SYG laws need to change to protect the victims rather than treat them as the problem.

Before any changes can be made, legislators need to start thinking of women as people and not property.  It is a shame on them that they don’t already believe this simple fact of life.

 

 

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As expected, the recent “Yes Means Yes” law passed in California has generated a lot of talk and arguments.  We hear the usual arguments about how men will be falsely accused of rape who really aren’t rapists.  The problem is that these arguments are coming from both sides of the political spectrum.

Even Jonathon Chaite wrote a piece about how bad the law will become.  The arguments he uses are not new either.  The one thing that stands out to me in the piece is when he calls the law illiberal.  He wrote:  “For various reasons, including the long stalemate in Washington, the movement to confront campus rape has shot up the list of liberal priorities. One can detect in this movement an impatience with balancing risk against liberty that, in other contexts, would be readily recognizable as a tone of creeping illiberalism.”

The problem with this statement is that is totally misses the point.  The California Law, which is not a penal law, requires universities to impose a standard of “affirmative consent,” which deems as rape any sex that does not have explicit, ongoing permission.  He argues that this law will have “unforeseen consequences.”

There is a problem with his argument.  The California University System had already put in place the affirmative consent policy.  So have several of the Ivy League schools.  There has not been a rush to falsely charge innocent people with rape.  I am not saying there isn’t the possibility of such cases arising.  But, then again, there are already cases of false charges being made.  This law won’t change that very much.

See, the problem is that the burden still falls mostly on women.  The arguments being made by Chaite and others are a mere continuation of the present norm.  Basically, they argue that it is the men who are threatened by these laws.  They totally ignore the fact that women have been abused and raped for generations and nothing has been done to stop the trend.

Vox’s Amanda Taub wrote a piece about the law as well.  Chaite claims that this little tidbit from Taub isn’t worth engaging in:

By exempting sexual aggressors from the responsibility of figuring out whether their partners are “eager and ready to sleep with them,” we’re asking their targets to either give in to sexual activity they don’t want, or to run the risk that a firm, assertive, continued rejection will end in violence.

This week, a Detroit man murdered a 27-year-old mother of three named Mary Spears after she rejected him in a bar. Right now, a woman is in critical condition in a New York City hospital because a man slashed her throat on the street after she declined to go on a date with him. In April, a Connecticut teenager was murdered by her 16-year-old classmate after she turned down his invitation to prom. Stories like these (and there are others) should remind us that women have a lot of reasons to fear the consequences of saying “no.” That’s all the more reason why silence shouldn’t be presumed to be consent.

He argues that these types of law are violating people’s Liberty.  But, he has no answer for the Liberty of a woman to live her life without be afraid of being raped because she attended a party.  Women have been denied their right to live fear free since the beginning of time.  I do hope that in these laws due process is followed properly.  Even College hearings on the case should probably be transparent so we can see the full story.  But, to argue that this law is infringing on Liberty is nonsense.  Men do not have the right of Liberty to force themselves on a woman.

The real sad part of this argument is that the necessity of such laws proves that we have a terrible lack of respect and dignity of over half of our population.  As I said once before, women are not property.  They are humans who deserve the same respect and liberties that we seem to want for men.  Until that cultural shift takes place, we will continue to hear lame arguments against reasonable laws to help women live a life free from fear of men.

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With the mid-terms just weeks away now, I find it difficult to understand why we aren’t seeing more TV ads from the Democrats about equal pay, minimum wage, and paid family leave.  These are issues that are extremely important to families, especially women.  As usual, it is projected that the turnout for this mid-term will be lower than in a presidential election year.  That also means that fewer women will vote in the mid-terms as well.

If the Democrats really want to keep the Senate and make some strides in the House, these are issues that they should be talking about more, not less.  There is plenty of evidence that it just might turn the tide against the Republicans if the Democrats use these issues wisely.  People want paid family leave.  They want affordable child-care.  They want fair and equal pay.  They are even willing to vote for people who support these issues.

A recent Lake Research Partners poll commissioned by the Make It Work campaign found that 76 percent of surveyed registered voters favor the campaign’s efforts to implement fair pay for minimum wage earners — who are disproportionately women — as well as more flexible family leave policies. Researchers found that a majority of respondents disagreed with the assertion that “men and women these days are generally paid equally for doing the same work,” and 80 percent said it’s the government’s responsibility to guarantee fair treatment for workers, regardless of income level or gender.

How much more ammunition do you need to fire the shots necessary to fire up these people enough to vote?  The Republicans have been very public about their refusal to implement any of these issues into law.  They are constantly telling voters that only companies can decide what a fair wage is, so the minimum wage is antiquated to the point it should be abolished.  They are constantly telling voters that you don’t deserve paid family leave time because it will hamper the business.  They are constantly telling the voters that men and women make the same wages for the same work.  Which statistics prove them wrong in every field and profession.

I live in a state where there is a very tight race between the incumbent Democratic Senator and her Republican rival.  I have not seen one single advertisement about the difference between them on these issues.  These are things that can even make Republican women vote Democratic.  The adage of “voting your pocketbook” is not dead.  It has just be hijacked by Republicans who get the wealthy to vote their pocketbooks.  Somehow they have convinced too many people to vote against their pocketbook just because they belong to a certain party.

In order to get people to the polls, Democrats need to start talking about issues that affect people’s pocketbooks.  Telling a minimum wage working person that raising the minimum wage will almost double their income, and you can get their vote.  Tell them that raising their income will mean more money to spend on necessities and even some “luxury” items and the will vote for you.  Tell them that increasing money to spend into the economy will help boost jobs, and they will vote for you.

But, for some reason, the Democrats seem to be mum on these topics.  I don’t understand why.  The Republicans haven’t been mum.  They especially like the idea of running ads telling women they should think about voting the same way the look at dresses or dates.  They are telling women that they don’t understand politics enough to vote on the issues, so they have to vote according to style.

If the Democrats don’t wake up soon, we may be faced with an even worse congress than we have had for the last several years.  If they don’t start fighting for the common people and telling them they favor these issues while the opponents do not, we won’t see any dramatic turn-around in November.

It is very easy to do as well.  We know Democrats favor these issues because they have already passed the Senate.  They haven’t become law because the Republicans refuse to even hold a vote on them in the House.  More fodder for the Democrats.  Just think about it.  76 percent of people want all of these issues to pass.  That means there are gerrymandered Republican districts that have a majority of people who want these issues to pass.

One way Democrats can get women to the polls is to talk about pocketbook issues.  So far, they have been remarkably silent on them.  Their silence could spell their doom in the mid-terms.

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The Republican Party is still running the name of Ronald Reagan out as the savior of the country.  Although everyone who follows politics today knows that Ronald Reagan would never get the nomination for President from the current Republican Party.  He would be branded as a RINO by today’s nuts.  Still he has been named a saint in the eyes of these same nuts who wouldn’t vote for him today.

The only real problem is that Reagan was anything but a savior to the country.  What Regan really did was sow the seeds for the total dismantling of our economic system.  Trickle down economics has proven to be the bane of economic growth.  Trickle down economics has actually hurt our middle-class to the point of non-existence.  The Reagan era brought in elitism in our economy that hadn’t been seen for over 60 years.  He totally took our economy and brought it to the brink of chaos and collapse.

One of the first side-shows that Reagan did was attempt to destroy the unions.  When Reagan took office, about 25 percent of the workforce belonged to a union.  Then Reagan worked hard to make sure that number dropped.  His first assault was on the Air Traffic Controllers.  When their union held a strike looking for better pay and working conditions, he fired them all to bust the union.  Elitists around the country hailed him as a hero because they knew that opened the door to target more unions.

Why was it so important to kill the unions?  Because unions gave the workers some power at the bargaining table.  Unions made it possible for workers to improve their pay and working conditions.  They made the middle-class possible to everyone.  With this power, unions made it possible for workers to share in the added profits of companies for their labor.  Something the owners did not want to share.  Plus union activities actually helped those workers not in a union shop.  Their companies had to follow suit or they would lose their workers to union shops.

By the end of his presidency, union membership fell to approximately 17 percent of the workforce.  Today, union membership is down to about 7 percent of the workforce.  This is a direct result of the union busting platform of Ronald Reagan.

On top of all of that, Reagan did nothing to help with the minimum wage.  Using 2013 dollars, the minimum wage in 1967 was about $9.67 per hour.  During the Reagan years, it fell to about $6.84.  Today it stands at $7.25.  By keeping the minimum wage low, companies made more profits but paid their employees less.  That took money out of the economy because the workers couldn’t afford the so-called luxury items they did before Reagan took office.

Reagan cut taxes.  Especially for the wealthy.  Reagan explained that if the wealthy had more money, it would trickle down to the rest of society.  More money for the rich meant more growth in business.  But, as the recession that followed his term in office proved, that theory was wrong.  By not allowing workers to share in the growth, money was drained from the economy and things got worse not better.  And, the debt grew under his leadership.

We are now going through an economic recovery.  The real problem is that for the first time in history, this recovery is making things worse for 90 percent of the population.  All of the benefits of this recovery are going to the top 10 percent of the population.  That has never happened before.  In past recoveries, the 90 percent made gains during a recovery.  Reagan and his policies have made that almost impossible today.

The Republican Party are still against raising the minimum wage.  They are still anti-union.  Look how the Senators from Tennessee meddled in the union vote at a Volkswagen plant in their state.  The Republicans still believe that the top 10 percent deserve all of the financial benefits of any recovery.

They claim that raising the minimum wage will cost jobs.  That theory has never proven to be correct.  Rather just the opposite has occurred.  By paying more in minimum wages, more people have expendable income.  More money is funneled into the economy, and more jobs are created because demand is higher.  In other words, everyone benefits from getting paid more.  Plus, raising the minimum wage helps increase other pay as well.  People who are now paid more than the minimum wage will see their pay increase as well.  That will be necessary to keep them in their positions rather than looking for better pay elsewhere.

Unions, especially after WWII actually created the middle-class.  At least they afforded a middle-class lifestyle to millions of workers who otherwise would never have seen it.  This is proven time-and-again by looking at those so-called “right to work” states where pay is below union wages.  In these states, workers do not receive the same pay as those working in union states.  As a result, their lifestyle is lower than their fellow workers.  And, without a union to back them up, they will never achieve the goal of living a middle-class lifestyle because owners have no incentive to bargain with them.

During the Reagan years, funding for education began to be slashed, especially in Republican controlled states.  Interest rates for student loans kept going up and up.  There was a time when people could actually work a full-time job and attend college in the evenings to gain the education they needed to move up.  Costs were low enough that huge student debt wasn’t as necessary getting your degree in this fashion.  Those days are gone too.  Because the deep cuts in education affect colleges and community colleges as well, the days of working while getting your education are all but gone.  The lack of funding from the states caused colleges and community colleges to increase their tuition rates, thus ensuring larger student debt.

Today’s Republicans are even against allowing people to refinance their student loans so they can get a lower rate.  That one really makes me scratch my head.  There is no reason not to allow people to refinance their student loans except that it takes away profits from banks.  But so does mortgage refinancing.  Republicans have no problem with that.

Unfortunately, until the workers see their plight as a result of these failed policies and start to unionize again, things won’t get much better.  Contrary to the Republican cry, unionization is not redistribution of wealth.  It is a way to ensure that the workers get to share in the benefits of their labor.

Median average income for the bottom 90 percent is 8 percent below what it was in 2007, adjusted for inflation.  It is a whopping 11 percent below that in 2000.  Yet, according to the Commerce Department report last Friday, the economy grew at a 4.6 percent annual rate in the second quarter of the year.  If you think these numbers look stunningly wrong, you are right.

The fact of the matter is that if you take money out of the economy by limiting the pay for workers, you are hurting the overall economic health of the country.  When workers have money to spend, the economy grows at a faster rate.  As anyone who took economics 101 can tell you, supply and demand determines the health of the economy.  The less demand, the poorer the economy.

This backwards trend started with Ronald Reagan.  He was not the savior of the country that the Republicans want you to think he was.  He was the purveyor of everything that is wrong with our economy today.  Ronald Reagan was simply an elitist that wanted to ensure that the elites of the country gained all of the benefits at the expense of the rest of the 90 percent of the population.  Reaganomics was and still is an abysmal failure.

As Bill Clinton once said, “it is the economy stupid.”  This November we have a choice to continue the downward spiral begun by Ronald Reagan, or stop it and move to a more fair economy.  The choice is yours.  We need to start looking at reality and vote our pocketbooks again.  It doesn’t matter what party you are affiliated with either.  Continuing these failed economic policies will hurt everyone.  Except the top 10 percent that is.  They are the true “constituency” of the Republican Party and Reaganomics.

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Bill Simmons at ESPN was suspended for three weeks for his rant on his podcast on the web magazine Grantland against Roger Goodell.  On the show he said:

I just think not enough is being made out of the fact that they knew about the [Ray Rice] tape, and they knew what was on it. Goodell, if he didn’t know what was on that tape, he’s a liar. I’m just saying it. He is lying. I think that dude is lying, if you put him up on a lie detector test that guy would fail. And for all these people to pretend they didn’t know is such fucking bullshit. It really is—it’s such fucking bullshit. And for him to go in that press conference and pretend otherwise, I was so insulted.

To show how insulted he really was, he dared ESPN to discipline him:

I really hope somebody calls me or emails me and says I’m in trouble for anything I say about Roger Goodell. Because if one person says that to me, I’m going public. You leave me alone. The commissioner’s a liar and I get to talk about that on my podcast. Thank you. … Please call me and say I’m in trouble. I dare you.

ESPN took him up on his dare.  Remember, ESPN has a contract with the NFL to show Monday Night Football.  Since they received the contract, the majority of their programming is more about football than anything else.  So, it isn’t surprising that ESPN would not only suspend Simmons, but use the following statement to justify it.

Every employee must be accountable to ESPN and those engaged in our editorial operations must also operate within ESPN’s journalistic standards. We have worked hard to ensure that our recent N.F.L. coverage has met that criteria. Bill Simmons … did not meet those obligations.

There is really more to this story than meets the eye.  The NFL has been engaged in a lot of negative publicity in the last few years.  Former players have sued the NFL over brain injuries caused by concussions.  More and more players have been accused of domestic violence.  More and more players have been suspended for drug use.

Problem is these are not new issues.  They have been around for years.  But until recently, the NFL has been able to backseat these issues so the fans don’t lose their enthusiasm for the sport.  With the most recent problems with domestic abuse by players, sponsors have expressed their “disappointment” with the league on how they handle such cases.  There hasn’t been a huge break of sponsorship, yet.  As one reporter said “although gaining some points for fighting abuse would be nice, it isn’t financially worth losing potential revenue from not advertising with the NFL.”

The other problem in making the NFL more decent in these matters is the fans.  Every game is still being sold out every week.  That means that none of the problems are having any impact on the NFL’s bottom line.  Until that happens, there will be no real change in how the NFL handles these cases.

I have said before that the NFL is today’s version of the Roman Gladiator Games.  Hell, Fox even plays up that idea in their ads for upcoming games.  This just proves that our lust for blood-sport seems ingrained in our genes.  Yes, I know, no one is actually killed at the end of the event as in gladiator fights in the coliseum, but the brutality of the sport is what seems to glue us to the TV every week.

It is true that all sports are a reflection of society.  As a result, society can make changes in how sports leagues handle social issues.  In the 1970s, there was a huge backlash against the NBA over drug use.  Players were constantly getting in trouble for using recreational drugs.  People stopped going to NBA games saying that the NBA had become a bunch of street gangs in shorts.

This drop in attendance and TV ratings forced the NBA to make some changes.  The league cleaned itself up.  It was either that or go out of business.  Yes, players like Magic Johnson, Larry Bird, and Michael Jordan helped turn things around.  But, it was also their “clean image” that helped bring people back to the game.  As a result, the NBA is about as popular as ever.

The Sterling crisis brought up another possible crisis for the league.  But, the commissioner handled it so quickly that it was resolved.  It was handled so well, that when another owner got caught with his own racial comments, he didn’t wait for the NBA to act.  He announced that he would sell his portion of the team as quickly as he could.  And, the league received praise over its handling of the situation.  That praise is something that is definitely lacking in these NFL cases.

The point here is that maybe Simmons was really insulted over the NFL and Roger Goodell’s recent new conference.  Simmons is widely known as a huge sports fan.  That is what makes his podcast so popular.  People look at him as a fan, not merely a reporter.  As such, wouldn’t it have been real nice if Simmons went on to say that the public should boycott the NFL until these matters are resolved?  What kind of shock-waves would have reverberated in the sports world if he had said that?  That would have been real news.

Football is not alone in problems.  As I mentioned the NBA went through problems.  Major League Baseball had their problems with PED’s.  In their case, it was the players who fought the dirty players, and they eventually won.  Contrary to popular belief, it was the players who fought for more drug testing to clean up the game.  Unfortunately, NFL players don’t seem to harbor the same fight to clean up their game.

The public proved with the NBA that they can force changes.  It is time for the public to force the NFL to make similar changes.  Look, football is a good sport.  The vast majority of players are good people who do wonderful work in the community.  But, the NFL is being tarnished by these abusers who have been getting away with it.

One step to force change is for sponsors to pull out.  Another step is for the players to revolt against the abusers and stop talking about “they are family” which only suggests they approve of domestic violence.  But, the best way to force change is for the fans to stop supporting the sport.  Let the fans stop going to games, or have TV ratings plummet for a few weeks, and you will see changes.

Despite the fact that many argue that sports figures are not heroes to our children, they are.  That alone should help ignite a fan revolt against the obvious reticent of the league to do something right.  I suggest that figures like Simmons should be leading the charge.  If he is truly “insulted” like he said he is he should leap on the opportunity.  Otherwise his comments are merely “fucking bullshit.”

 

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With all of the talk recently about domestic abuse, one has to wonder where men are learning that women are mere objects.  In order to justify, even in one’s own mind, domestic violence, one needs to believe that women are mere objects and possessions.  If women were considered as equal partners in life, domestic abuse would not be as rampant as it currently is.  Recent polls show that 1 in 4 women are victims of domestic abuse.  Furthermore, 1 in 5 men actually admit to hitting their partner.  That is very scary!

So, where do men learn that women are objects?  You need look no further than our schools.  Many schools have adopted dress codes.  Dress codes in and of themselves are not necessarily bad.  But, when dress codes are used to “slut shame” girls at the school, then things definitely have gone way too far.

Revolts have cropped up all across the nation over the dress code problem.  A vocal campaign has emerged after recent incidents angered students in New York, Utah, Florida, Oklahoma and other states, with some accusing schools of sexism and so-called “slut shaming”.  Many parents have expressed support of these students claiming the application of the dress codes can be capricious and unjust.

The mass walkouts have shown that this is not a matter of individual students.  Ruthann Robson, a City University of New York law professor and author of Dressing Constitutionally: Hierarchy, Sexuality and Democracy said:  “I do think these protests are a trend and I think it’s a good trend.”  Referring to the mass walkouts which showed that dress codes are related to public policy she said: “Such resistance points out the larger structural issues. There is a problem here of state power getting confused with matters of good taste.”

The protests have spawned the hashtag #iammorethanadistraction.  Schools have expressed concern such attire could “distract” other pupils and responded by sending students home or obliging them to wear oversized, baggy “shame suits”.  Hence the hashtag.

The most recent backlash came in Bingham high school in South Jordan, Utah where over 100 students walked out.  There students were turned away from their homecoming dance.  Allegedly, the school staff lined the girls against a wall as they arrived and banished about two dozen for having dresses which purportedly showed too much skin and violated the rules.

“It was embarrassing and degrading to them. It was shaming. She came home very upset,” said Chad Perhson, whose teenage daughter, Tayler Gillespie, was among those refused entry.  Gillespie wore a purple knee-length dress.  School administrators said that dress violated the dress code.  The code says “hemlines should go no higher than mid-thigh when seated”.   Only problem was that she was never asked to be seated.  She says the dress would not go higher than mid-thigh when seated.  Other students were allowed to enter the dance, including the Homecoming Queen, when they donned their dates jackets.

In Florida, Oakleaf high school made headlines over the dress code as well.  There Miranda Larkin, 15, was forced to wear oversized red sweatpants and a neon yellow shirt, each with “dress code violation” written on them, in punishment for wearing a skirt that was above the knee.  Her mother, Dianna Larkin, said the punishment amounted to humiliation and that she would file a complaint with the Federal Educational Rights and Privacy Act.

The real problem with these dress codes is that they target women, not men.  Women are being targeted by school districts with these dress codes as being a “distraction”.  That is totally absurd!  The hashtag #iammorethanadistraction is being adopted by other students across the country.  Anna Huffman, 17, who has organized a petition asking Western Alamance, her North Carolina high school, to amend certain restrictions and to allow leggings, yoga pants and other comfortable attire.  “These codes really target women. You don’t see boys being sent home for wearing shorts above the knee.”

Huffman believes that such an approach condones boys seeing women as sexual objects.  She said:  “It perpetuates the idea that girls need to conform to satisfy the males. If girls are getting harassed, we should blame the boys, not the girls.”

On one of the hottest days of the year earlier this month administrators at Tottenville High School in Staten Island, New York, intercepted more than a hundred students, mostly girls, and ordered them to cover up or to summon parents with additional clothing. Many were given detention.  In response, girls returned to school wearing crop tops and tank tops in direct violation of the dress code.  A leaflet appeared urging school staff not to punish or humiliate girls for wearing shorts.   “It’s hot outside. Instead of shaming girls for their bodies, teach boys that girls are not sexual objects.”

This type of behavior by school staffs and school districts really has only one definition.  It is teaching boys that girls are objects and not people.  When boys see girls having to wear things like oversized red sweatpants and a neon yellow shirt stating “dress code violation”, what does that tell them?  That is a group of adults “slut shaming” girls simply because they don’t like the way the girl dressed.  It also tells boys that girls are the problem when it comes to abuse or sexual assault.

Our nation has always been more violent than other nations.  It is part of our culture.  No, it is not something to be proud of, but it is a fact.  Treating girls in school like they are objects or sluts is teaching our boys the wrong lesson.  This type of behavior by adults who are supposed to be “teaching” our children is just adding to our violent culture, especially against women.

It is hard to see how abuse and sexual assault can be reduced or eliminated when these arbitrary dress codes are allowed to humiliate and objectify our girls.  Instead we should be teaching boys that women are not sexual objects for their pleasure. We should be teaching them that women are people who deserve the same respect and dignity as men.  Until that happens, boys will continue to look at women as possessions.  That is the real crime in all of this.

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