Since becoming one of a growing number of women in the state sentenced for ‘chemical endangerment’, Amanda Kimbrough has sent letters from prison
The Guardian, By Ed Pilkington, October 7
New York – On 29 April last year Amanda Kimbrough sat down in her cell inside the notoriously tough Tutwiler women’s prison in Wetumpka, Alabama, and began writing a letter in which she described her feelings of loss and remorse. It was a poignant moment, as six years earlier to the day her only son Timmy had been born prematurely and had died from complications at birth after only 19 minutes.
“Tim Jr would be six years old [today],” she wrote, “and not a day goes by I don’t think of him. While I was out we keep his grave decorated and kept up, my husband and family do while I’m here.”
That Kimbrough – Alabama offender 287089, as the state branded her – should be thinking of her son on the anniversary of his death needs no explanation. But the poignancy of the letter is heightened by the knowledge that it was because of Timmy’s stillbirth at 25 weeks that she was locked up in the first place.
Later, the profound legal issues raised by the case would rise up through appeals all the way to the Alabama supreme court, the highest judicial panel in the state, where it would set a new precedent. In effect, it renders all pregnant women vulnerable to prosecution for any harm they might cause their fetus at any time after the moment of conception.
London – Amnesty International approved a controversial policy Tuesday to endorse the de-criminalization of the sex trade, rejecting complaints from some women’s rights groups who say it is tantamount to advocating the legalization of pimping and brothel owning.
At its decision-making forum in Dublin, the human rights watchdog approved the resolution to recommend “full decriminalization of all aspects of consensual sex work.” It argues its research suggests decriminalization is the best way to defend sex workers’ human rights.
“We recognize that this critical human rights issue is hugely complex and that is why we have addressed this issue from the perspective of international human rights standards,” said Salil Shetty, Secretary General of Amnesty International. “We also consulted with our global movement to take on board different views from around the world.”
Vatican City – The Vatican said it had arrested a member of women’s rights group Femen who on Christmas Day bared her breasts and grabbed a statue of the baby Jesus from a nativity scene in front of thousands of people in St. Peter’s Square.
Femen’s website says the woman was protesting as part of its anti-clerical “Massacre of the Innocents” campaign contesting religions’ “maniacal desire to control women’s fertility”.
Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi said Friday that Ukrainian citizen Iana Aleksandrovna Azhdanova was being detained and questioned by a Vatican judge. On Saturday, the Vatican said she had been released and was forbidden to return to the Holy See.
He said she was accused of vilification of religion, obscene acts in public, and theft. He said her action “offended the religious feelings of many people”.
Guardian – The US Supreme Court on Tuesday blocked key parts of a 2013 law in Texas that had closed all but eight facilities providing abortions in America’s second most-populous state.
In an unsigned order, the justices sided with abortion rights advocates and health care providers in suspending an October 2 ruling by a panel of the New Orleans-based US 5th Circuit Court of Appeals that Texas could immediately apply a rule that would force abortion clinics statewide to spend millions of dollars on hospital-level upgrades.
Justices Samuel Alito, Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas dissented.
(The Guardian) How do you feel about the fact that Iceland is holding a conference on gender equality, feminism and sexual violence – without a single female invitee? “It will be the first time at the United Nations that we bring together only men leaders to discuss gender equality,” Iceland’s foreign minister, Gunnar Bragi Sveinsson, announced to the UN last week.
Steph Harman : ““When I heard Julia Gillard’s parliamentary speech addressing misogyny, it struck me that behind the politics there was a lot of personal feeling being communicated,” writes composer Rob Davidson, in the description which accompanies this delicious treat. “I wanted to put a frame around this slice of time, to heighten my perception of what was being said behind the words, in the intonation of the voice, and in the dynamics of what was being said in interjections and reactions.” The resulting piece, performed by award winning The Australian Voices, is called ’Not Now, Not Ever’.”
The first problem is that they don’t actually convince people to get married; nor do they get fathers to spend more time with their children, make children more emotionally secure, encourage parents to stay together or make families more financially stable. The second is that, contrary to right-wing narratives, marriage doesn’t fix poverty – yet those same conservatives demand that the federal government continue to funnel money into failed marriage promotion programs, and even encourage politicians to curb reproductive rights to force couples into marrying. It’s bad policy stacked on bad policy, with women and their children being made the primary victims. Continue reading →
It is not surprising that Rush Limbaugh, spiritual leader of the Republican Party – the man who determines Republican ideology and who enforces obedience to orthodoxy within the party – now finds Pope Francis a “Marxist”. Pope Francis, spiritual leader to over one billion Catholics, has issued a direct assault on the Rush Limbaugh’s of this world, their paymasters in the business and financial community, and their political lackeys such as Barack Obama, Angela Merkel, Vladimir Putin, Stephen Harper, David Cameron, Shinzo Abe, Tony Abbott, and Li Keqiang. “I ask God to give us more politicians capable of sincere, effective dialogue aimed at healing the deepest roots – and not simply the appearances – of the evils in our world!” Francis put an exclamation point at the end of that sentence, and he could have said “give us just one politician” rather than “more politicians”, because it is clear when you read his pastoral exhortation Evangelii Gaudium (the Joy of the Gospels), that none of the men or women in positions of power over today’s global economy qualifies as a healer of anything or anybody.
Political leaders come and go, but men like Rush Limbaugh seem to linger forever. What is it about Pope Francis that makes Limbaugh see shades of Lenin, Stalin, and Mao? Could it possibly be criticisms such as these:
Sri Lanka was hoping hosting CHOGM would infer legitimacy for its government since 2009. However, Tamil widows are sexually abused by the police, para-military and the military; and successful Tamil businessmen are victims of standover tactics. Over 40,000 abuses are alleged.
Saudi Arabian authorities are threatening to forcefully suppress an Oct. 26 “protest drive” by women against a de facto ban on them driving cars in the country, citing bans on “illegal gatherings and marches.”
The “October 26 Driving” campaign led by Saudi women is calling for citizens to put the campaign’s logo on their cars, and is urging the women with international driving licenses to get behind the wheel that day. The protest has come to symbolize the struggle for women’s rights in the extremely conservative monarchy, which enforces a harsh form of Sharia law.
Saudi women’s rights activists have already posted photos and videos of themselves defying the ban. It followed some members of the Shura Council that advises the government calling for the leadership to end the ban.
What if there is a much larger scandal lurking within their private lives? What if the “whole lot of therapy” was merely a ruse, a going through the motions. What if it was an act necessitated by the need “to get to a place where [Abedin] could forgive Anthony?” Not for engaging in a relationship with another person intimate enough for the exchange sexts, but rather forgive him for being so stupid as to get caught.
A greater scandal than infidelity would be an open marriage.
Let that sink in.
Because the authoritarians out there are fine with infidelity. They do it themselves. What they will neither abide nor tolerate though, is a challenge to their moral superiority. The challenge of the sexual revolution of the sixties for the moral fundamentalists was not free love. It was guilt-free love. It’s ok to have sex. It’s just that after almost every instance you are required to feel guilty.
The sixties freed us of “premarital” sex guilt. So much so that the very word “premarital” is falling out of common usage.
But “open marriage” guilt. Not by a long shot.
And it’s beyond ironic that one of the kind of people most in need of standards of conduct within an open marriage are politicians. The essence of politics is lots of interaction with lots of people. Both shallow and deep interactions and interfaces. It was a revelation to my daughter when I pointed out to her the high likelihood that the Clintons had between them broad understandings of what they would permit of each other. And a greater revelation that agreements of that sort would be more scandalous than the acts themselves.
It is a sense wrongness that can constrain progressive politicians from living our values. Best if felt by the politician but sufficient if merely felt by the voters. Even if Anthony Weiner feels that sexting is ok, he has to lie.
Eliot Spitzer, of course, has a similar problem. Even if engaging professional sex services is allowed within his relationship and his personal ethics, it is beyond efficacy to say so.
And this is what drives the moral superiority of the authoritarians. They can still safely feel at one with their beliefs. As long as we feel, and I mean feel, that we must deny our fundamental beliefs, we will be at a disadvantage in the political arena.