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Archive for January, 2009

I am simply passing this on. The sources are Al-Arabiya and Al-Hayat. I am always amazed by the number of people who do not know that there are Palestinians who are not Muslim. There are Christian, actually, Catholic Palestinians, and now Hamas is officially targeting them. Suha Arafat, the widow of Yassir Arafat is Catholic. You may remember that Hillary took some heat for kissing Suha back in 1999. It is important to know a few things.

Hillary’s vast international experience, exactly what places her in her new position as Secretary of State designate, has afforded her a remarkable education in cultural practices world-wide. All over Europe, The Caribbean, and much of the Middle East, it is a custom to kiss on both cheeks as a greeting. Hillary knew this, and it was what she was doing as the host of the event in which Mrs. Arafat was participating – nothing more. (Anyway, I would rather have a top diplomat who knows how to kiss than one who can use two fingers to the jugular to kill).

gal_hillary_trips_18

The other thing you need to know I cannot source although I am sure I read it in today’s NY Times and now cannot find it. Hamas is burning Christian churches and targets nuns and priests, but especially nuns.

Here’s the article:

Hamas Reinstates Crucifixions of Christians

Friday, January 9, 2009 5:05 PM

By: Nicole Jansezian

While the world focused on Hamas militants launching rockets from Gaza at southern Israel, the terrorist organization also voted quietly to implement Islamic law in the Gaza Strip, including crucifixion of Christians, according to reports in the Arabic press.

The traditional Muslim criminal code, known as Sharia law, includes penalties such as amputation of limbs for stealing and the death penalty, including crucifixion, for actions Hamas deems detrimental to “Palestinian interests,” including collaborating with Israel.

The new law was reported on the Al-Arabiya Web site and in the London-based Saudi-owned newspaper Al-Hayat, which wrote that the implementation of Sharia law has “brought criticism and concern from human rights organizations in the Gaza Strip.”

But the media scarcely took notice when the decision was reported during the Christian holidays as fighting between Hamas and Israel escalated in late December.

“Hamas’ endorsement of nailing enemies of Islam to crosses came at the same time it renewed its jihad,” Jerusalem Post columnist Caroline Glick wrote on Dec. 26. “Here, too, Hamas wanted to make sure that Christians didn’t feel neglected as its fighters launched missiles at Jewish day care centers and schools.”

Christians are a minority in Gaza, numbering fewer than 2,000 residents among 1.6 million in the Strip. After Hamas came to power, the Islamic group began enforcing sharia law more strictly, though not officially. Christians were the first to feel the squeeze. Some Christian men felt compelled to grow beards and women donned head scarves to downplay their identities as non-Muslims.

Sharia law is implemented fully in some nations, including Iran and Saudi Arabia. When Palestinian voters elected Hamas in 2006, organization spokesman Hamed Bitawi declared: “The Quran is our constitution, Muhammad is our prophet, jihad is our path, and dying as martyrs for the sake of Allah is our biggest wish.”

Palestinian officials in Gaza denied the adoption of Islamic law. However, Palestinian Media Watch, an organization that monitors the Arab press, says the group is lying.

“Contrary to today’s denials, official Hamas leaders have proudly announced in the Hamas-run media in the last two months that this Islamic penal code was being prepared,” the media watchdog said. “Indeed, senior Hamas leaders went so far as to say that when these laws are implemented, they will have force not only in Gaza but also in the West Bank.”

Media Watch also noted that Hamas newspaper Al-Rissala reported, “The Bureau of Islamic Law is preparing a penal code in order to implement Sharia-Islamic Law.”

Hamas has financial backing from Iran, which supplies the group with rockets and weapons used to attack Israel. Despite espousing separate branches of Islam — Hamas is Sunni; Iran is Shiite — the organization shares the expressed wish of Iran President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to wipe out Israel. The Hamas charter states: “Israel will exist and will continue to exist until Islam will obliterate it, just as it obliterated others before it.”

Israel withdrew unilaterally, both residents and soldiers, from the Gaza Strip in 2005, leaving the territory entirely under Palestinian jurisdiction. Then, in a coup in 2007, Hamas took over the Gaza Strip, ousting its rival party Fatah and assassinating Fatah loyalists. Since then, rocket fire launched at Israel’s southern communities increased. In December, a six-month period of calm collapsed and led to Israel’s Operation Cast Lead, the bombings and attacks against Hamas militants in Gaza in retaliation for bombings of Israel.

© 2009 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

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Mark Wilson/Getty Images News

The original raison d’etre and mission of this blog was to cover Hillary Clinton’s back in light of the media’s antipathy toward her candidacy and just about anything she does. We extended that mission to include all women – candidates or not – faced with any kind of sexist rancor, misogyny, or violence.

Of course Hillary herself, while victimized, has always been a strong advocate against sexism and misogyny. As she enters what are very probably her final weeks in the Senate during these opening weeks of the 111th Congress, Hillary may strike a blow for all of us. The Lily Ledbetter Law, extending the window within which an employee may take legal action for pay disparity based on gender, is being revived and expected to pass. Hillary is sponsoring the Paycheck Fairness Act ensuring equal pay for equal work.

Hillary is awesome in the Senate, and we will miss her there sorely. If she were to stay, I have no doubt that we would see the revival and passage of the Equal Rights Amendment as well. I cannot escape the nagging feeling that there is a hidden agenda in the State Department appointment. I hope I am wrong, and I sure hope she succeeds there, but I also hope this was not a ploy to move her out of the Senate where she has done and would continue to do such important work and in huge quantities. She is the best Senator I have ever seen. Godspeed, Hillary. We’ve got your back. We see that you also have ours.

January 8, 2009

Senator Clinton Reintroduces The Paycheck Fairness Act

WASHINGTON, DC –Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton today reintroduced her landmark legislation to address the continuing pay gap between women and men. The Paycheck Fairness Act would take critical steps to help empower women to negotiate for equal pay, to create strong incentives for employers to obey the existing laws, and to strengthen federal outreach and enforcement efforts. Twenty-two senators have joined Senator Clinton as original cosponsors of the legislation. Representative Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) has introduced the bill in the House of Representatives.

“Every American deserves equal pay for equal work. It is disgraceful that four decades after the Equal Pay Act was signed into law, women in this country still earn only 78 cents on the dollar. The Paycheck Fairness Act is an attempt to right this historic wrong and I am proud to reintroduce it today,” Senator Clinton said.

Women working full time, year-round jobs still make only 78 cents for every dollar made by a man. Women of color fare even worse: African-American women earn only 62 cents, and Latinas only 53 cents, for every $1.00 earned by white men. Studies have shown that this wage disparity will cost women an average of more than $400,000 over a lifetime, a difference in pay that cannot be fully explained by experience, education, or other qualifications. Unequal pay also hurts families. Single women who are heads of households are twice as likely to be in poverty as single fathers. And most families depend on women’s wages to make ends meet, with women’s pay constituting about two-fifths of family income.

The Paycheck Fairness Act would address this reality through a number of needed reforms. The Act would create a training program to help women strengthen their negotiation skills; enforce equal pay laws for federal contractors; and require the Department of Labor to work with employers to eliminate pay disparities by enhancing outreach and training efforts. Also, the bill would prohibit employers from retaliating against employees who share salary information with their co-workers; and strengthen the remedies available under the Act to include compensatory and punitive damages.

Senator Clinton has long been a champion of securing equal pay for equal work. In addition to introducing the Paycheck Fairness Act, Senator Clinton joined with Senators Edward Kennedy (D-MA) and Tom Harkin (D-IA), as well as Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), to request that the Government Accountability Office (GAO) study the role that the federal government has and can play in remedying pay inequities in the workplace. In September, the GAO issued a highly critical report finding that federal agencies had been doing an inadequate job at enforcing and monitoring their enforcement of the equal pay laws. In 2006, Senator Clinton co-hosted a “Pay Equity for Women” seminar with Stony Brook University that drew hundreds of students as well as leading educators and experts in gender equity business issues. At the seminar, Senator Clinton unveiled a resource guide titled, “Know What to Ask & Know Your Rights: A Pay Equity Guide on How to Help Yourself in the Workplace.” The guide is an informative tool for young women entering the workforce and can be found on Senator Clinton’s web site: here.

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As students, my friends and I used to joke about an old line that I always thought came from a movie. To lure a woman up to a bachelor’s apartment after a date, a playboy would ask, “Do you want to come up and see my etchings?” With Wedgewood and Waterford on the verge of bankruptcy, it is doubtful that most Americans worry much about etched glass except for the coffee pot that gets clouded after too many dishwasher cycles.

Etching, the effect of acid on glass or metal, is an artful, precious medium and becoming rarer as time goes on. When you think about how hard glass or metal is, and see the effect of the acid, then it is very painful to imagine the effect of acid on human (or animal) skin and bone. Someone in my town poured acid on a beagle puppy last year and caused an outrage. The puppy was saved (by my vet).

Even more disturbing, then, is this story from Bangladesh about acid attacks on women and girls. I have written here before about this. I will continue to post about this issue until communities address this issue in an effective way. This would include international organizations, and domestic groups interested in human rights and dedicated to eradicating cruelty and violence. I almost added “against women and girls” and am holding back on that. Hillary Clinton said,” …human rights are women’s rights – and women’s rights are human rights.” Acid attacks are violations of human rights – period.

BANGLADESH: Acid attacks continue despite new laws


Photo: Contributor/IRIN
Workers at the Acid Survivors Foundation express their solidarity with acid victims to raise social awareness against the practice

DHAKA, 5 January 2009 (IRIN) – Acid attacks against women and girls are continuing despite legal campaigns to halt their spread.

Over 2,600 cases have been reported since 1999, according to the Acid Survivors Foundation (ASF) of Bangladesh. Almost all the attacks have been on women or girls. Many of the victims are under 18, says ASF, which has been working to eliminate acid violence for almost a decade.

The main reason for the violence is dowries, refusal of love proposals, or land disputes, ASF said. Bent on revenge, perpetrators throw acid into their victims’ faces in an effort to severely disfigure them, often with horrifying results.

Nitric or sulphuric acid has a catastrophic effect on human flesh, ASF said, resulting in skin tissue melting, often exposing the bones below the flesh, and even dissolving bone.

Scarred for life and badly burned, many survivors also lose their sight in one or both eyes. Others are so psychologically traumatised they never recover.

Read the rest of the story here.

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Louisa’s mother, Betty Jean Kling posted this video at Hillary’s Village today along with the sad news that Louisa is not going to make it.  It is important to see this and understand what the results are.

Here is Betty Jean’s blog post.

Betty Jean is right.  We need stronger laws, better enforcement of the laws we have, and a cultural shift.  I still cannot figure out how a society that, over a roughly 30-year period, became so multiculturally sensitive and wary of political correctness allowed the issues of more than half the population slip through the cracks.

It’s odd to me that colleagues that so rapidly bring up issues of tiny minorities literally shouted me down when I brought up some of the gender-bias I saw in the media over this past year.  They raised their voices and yelled right over me defending remarks that were mean and stupid made by clearly prejudiced and uninformed people.

So I would blame us – the women of my generation who started this revolution in the late 60’s and somehow left it out on the counter to grow stale.  Somehow, though, it seems it was not all our fault.  We were still primarily the ones responsible for getting the kids out to school, leaving something from the freezer in the fridge to defrost for dinner, cleaning the house, doing the wash, and for most of my generation, also getting ourselves together and off to a job.

Did we let this happen?  Yes, I guess we did.  I am not saying that minority issues are less important, but the majority issues  – our issues – need our voices.  If nothing else, at lease we need to start calling others on the sexism and misogyny when we encounter it.

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