Prison Abuse Needs to Stop!

13 05 2009

The Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office (MCSO) jails in Arizona is currently under investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice because the police officers working in those jails allegedly abuse 287(g), a section of immigration law enabling the federal government to deputize local police officers to enforce immigration law.  However, the police officers are allegedly abusing their power and abuse the immigrant women detainees.

Respect/Respet, a local organisation that documents human and civil rights abuses, received handwritten letters from imprisoned immigrant women detailing grueling testimonials of physical mistreatment and abuse.  For instance, one woman got her arm broken by one of the guards, and another woman got her jaw broken by a sheriff deputy.  One of the letters implored for help saying, “Please help us, we’re in a tunnel without end, treated like dogs.”

So far, Maria del Carmen Garcia-Martinez, 46, allegedly an illegal undocumented immigrant, is the only woman to come out publicly with her story – on March 11th, six guards at the Estrella jail, a detention facility for women near Phoenix, were forcing her to put her fingerprint on a form she refused to sign.  In doing so, they broke her left arm.  The form was supposed to transfer her custody from the Estrella jail to immigration authorities.  She was not treated for her injury until 20 hours later.  She told reporters, “I know I’m not the only one, I met other women there who have gone through terrible things.”

Lt. Brian Lee, a spokesperson for the sheriff’s office, stated that Garcia-Martinez’s allegations are being investigated now, but he also stated that the sheriff deputies could use force if necessary to get a fingerprint on immigration documents as part of their job requirements.  So on May 1, officials from the Justice Department and the Department of Homeland Security visited the sheriff’s office to pursue an investigation.  Human and civil rights groups, like Respect/Respet and pro-immigrant group Puente, are fighting for Maricopa County Sheriff Joseph Arpaio’s 287(g) agreement with the federal government to be revoked.  Arpaio’s jails are meant for people accused of serious crimes awaiting trial, but a significant amount of undocumented immigrants guilty of minor offenses end up there as well as they wait to be transferred to immigration authorities.

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Who says that young feminists don’t do jack shit?

13 05 2009

A brief story on a fifth grade girl who asked her school therapist if she could help her make a powerpoint presentation for her class.  She feels that she and her peers are under a lot of pressure (by society and by the media) to be sexy and beautiful which takes away from their childhood.  She and her friends shouldn’t have to be worrying about being sexy now, they should be enjoying being young and carefree.  She said, “We’re 11.  We should not have to worry about putting make up on before we leave the house.”

Good to know that the media hasn’t got everyone duped, and that not only are young people are realizing that our patriarchal society creates highly unhealthy and unrealistic standards of beauty, but they are also taking action to expose these unrealistic expectations and to educate themselves and their peers.

Actually, threatening to bomb Iran is not the solution

13 05 2009

Yesterday Dick Cheney was in New York City to watch his daughter, Elizabeth Cheney, debate American diplomacy with Iran with Ambassador Nicholas Burn, Professor at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government  at the Intelligence Squared Debate.  During the debate, Elizabeth Cheney said, “If they [Iran] believe the threat of military force is on the table that’s frankly the only thing I’ve seen that convinces them they’d better get serious about sanctions.”

At a dinner following the debate, Cheney imparted some of his wisdom, saying that negotiations with Iran are fruitless and simply a way to stall for time, and the only way to achieve success is for President Obama to threaten to bomb Iran.  He said:

“Everybody’s in a giant conspiracy to achieve a different objective than the one we want to achieve.”

Hmm really?  What is this “giant conspiracy”?  And this whole “different objective” schpeal?  What is this about?  Then he said that the negotiations are “bound to fail unless we are perceived as very credible” in threatening military action against Iran.

Take diplomacy and negotiation advice from Dick Cheney, quite the pro y’know – making a realistic military threat to advance one’s own interests is not only legitimate, but the only way for negotiations to succeed.  Hmph.  Let us revisit the United Nations Charter.  Article 2.3 states:

All Members shall settle their international disputes by peaceful means in such a manner that international peace and security, and justice, are not endangered.

Something tells me that threatening to bomb Iran goes against this Article… Perhaps the U.S. should try actual diplomacy instead of preemptive military force or threatening to blow up a country and kill innocent civilians.  Thank goodness Cheney isn’t in office any more.

Slate’s new women’s website disappoints

13 05 2009

Slate just launched a women’s website, Double X, and so far it’s been very disappointing.  There’s been much written about this on the feminist blogosphere, and the sentiments of disappointment and frustration seem to be shared, so instead of regurgitating what’s already been said, I’ll pull out some quotes from others’ thoughts and comments on Double X:

Jessica at Feministing says:

Well, let’s take a look at the headlining pieces that the magazine chose to kick off with:

Whine, Womyn, and Thongs: How feminism has failed.

What’s the Problem Now? Feminism’s Dilemmas

Yes, Virginia, Feminism Really Is Dead.

and the slightly more optimistic…

How I Got Bored With Feminism: And why it still matters.

Oh, and the quote of the day? “‘Feminism’ had come to seem, well…just the teeniest bit tiresome.” – Terry Castle

It seems my excitement was a bit premature! Here I thought that Double X might be a site for forward-thinking conversation about feminism and women’s issues – alas, it’s just a sounding board for warmed-over stereotypes and an oh-so-tired “those darn kids” take on younger women.

…Double X as a whole seems to reflect an increasing trend in online women’s and feminist media – and frankly, it is making me tired. Tired of the manufactured feminist “cat-fighting,” tired of the hating, tired of the notion that the only way to write about feminism is to smugly (and incorrectly) point out where it is failing. I am all for an accountable feminism and constructive criticism; I think it’s necessary in order to make our work as writers and activists better. But the never-ending bullshit masquerading as good faith critique is simply exhausting. And we can do better.

Bashing feminism has always been trendy and fun for our ignorant opponents, but to do so in a “safe” space that is supposed to be feminist or at least feminist friendly?  All the Haterade that’s going around is irritating and juvenile.  It’s not beneficial to feminism or the feminist movement if feminists keep on bashing each other, slut-shaming, or having silly “I’m more feminist than you are” contests.  Is this really the most productive and efficient way to use our energy?

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Oh, the irony!

13 05 2009

Vernitt Hoheb, 31, an abstinence youth counselor in Connecticut, was arrested for sexually assaulting a 16 year old girl.  The assault occurred in March when he was driving her home.  He stopped his car in the parking lot of a Trumbull gym and proceeded to sexually assault her.

Hoheb was a youth counselor at Mount Aery Baptist Church in Bridgeport who counseled young women, including the young woman he sexually assaulted, on how to say “no” to unwanted sexual advances from adults.

It may seem ironic that an pro-abstinence youth counselor sexually assaulted a young woman, but the abstinence movement goes hand in hand with patriarchal objectification of women.  According to both, female sexuality is a commodity that is up for grabs.  Female sexuality does not belong to women and is not defined by women, but instead it belongs to and is defined by external figures.

Della: Laptops for Women!

13 05 2009

Good news!  Dell has unveiled a new website:  “Della.”  Because women need laptops that are cute!  

Dell Della HP laptops at pool

Dell Della HP-Mini 10 banner

And the website is equipped with all kinds of helpful tips specifically geared toward women.  For example, “Once you get beyond how cute they are, you’ll find that netbooks can do a lot more than check your email.”  O rly?  Let’s see what “Tech Tips” Della has for us.

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