Mini Movie Review: Bidder 70 #climatechange

Had an interesting evening — I went to the local film watching group, Film for Thought, and saw Bidder 70, about Tim DeChristopher, who spoiled the BLM’s auction of oil and gas fields in Utah a few years ago.

Excellent, thought-provoking movie. I was really struck by how DeChristopher becomes a prophet for the anti-climate-change activists and how they rally around him and create a movement in support of him.

I highly recommend the movie.

Deadly Fire in Bangladesh Garment Factory: Boycott clothes Made in Bangladesh #humanrights

One hundred and twelve people dead. Most died jumping from upper stories as the ground floor was engulfed in flames. There were no external fire escapes. The ABC news article I read says that Bangladesh has some of the worst working conditions in the world.

The factory was making American brands of clothing, for Wal-Mart, Sears, and other retailers.

I don’t buy many clothes, but I will not be buying Made in Bangladesh clothes any more.

I suppose one could argue that not buying clothes made in Bangladesh makes life harder for Bangladeshi workers, but I can’t see how it could be worse than the status quo — isn’t it better not to have a job, than to have one that kills you, literally?

And perhaps boycotting clothes made in Bangladesh will make working conditions better there?

I don’t know, but I do know that I cannot countenance buying clothes made under conditions described in the article.

What do you think? Will a boycott help improve working conditions in Bangladesh? Will you be boycotting clothes made in Bangladesh? Tell me in the comments, please.

Corporal punishment in schools is still legal in 19 states #humanrights

I grew up in a state where corporal punishment in the schools was not legal. I assumed that it was not legal anywhere. I just found out today that it is still legal in 19 US states. Idaho is one. Is your state another? Find out here.

News Round-Up

Summaries of a few news and opinion stories from around the web that I found interesting:

Why you shouldn’t panic about pesticides in foods: Pesticide residues are generally at much lower levels than would be harmful. No mention is made of how pesticide use affects farmworkers. Notable quotation from the article: “No one should stop eating fruits and vegetables because of fears about pesticides.”

How To Stop Science Alienation Syndrome (Split K-12 science education into two tracks, for majors and non-majors): Instead of treating science and math as subjects that children either love or hate, and expecting all of them to pass the same classes, split classes, especially in high school, into specialized classes for children who want to become scientists, and general classes about science in every day life (in cooking, sports, and more) for everyone else.

Up to 27 million people living in slavery: The end of legal slavery did not end trafficking in people, and 27 million people around the world are forced to work for someone else in degrading conditions, deprived of their human rights.

Are you planning on voting?

Primaries are upcoming here in Idaho, and the general election will be here before we know it (however much we seem mired in campaign slog right now). Many states have passed new laws requiring identification at the polls. This identification must be current and up-to-date, with your current, legal name and address. And before you say that doesn’t apply to you, of course you have current, updated photo identification, an article by The Nation came out last week, and it quotes a Brennan survey that 10% of Americans don’t have it. Most of that 10% are women, who have last name changes due to marriage and divorce. Read the entire article.

Who do we think we are?: A poem on #humanrights

We sleep, safe in our warm houses
Who do we think we are?
We have forgotten the struggle
For our lives and voices.

Who do we think we are,
Scribbling away, warm and safe?
For our lives and voices
We did not pay the price.

Scribbling away, warm and safe
While other women scrimp and hide
We did not pay the price
They still suffer and die.

While other women scrimp and hide,
We have forgotten the struggle
They still suffer and die,
We sleep, safe in our warm houses.

For more information on what this poem is about, see Who are We? a post I wrote earlier this week.

Who are We?

Who are we to be so safe? We sit in our safe, warm rooms, writing, and we think nothing of it. Women fought and died for our rights, to speak as the men speak, freely and without fear. We gather, we protest, we write.

Do not forget those who do not have these same freedoms, who hide their writing, and their voices. Remember those who live in fear, whose still small voices are all they have.

“In Afghanistan, poetry is the women’s movement from the inside.” Safia Siddiqi

“They’re behind high walls, under the strong control of men.” Ogai Amail

When women listen to each other’s stories and share their own, growth happens and confidence grows. As harmless as such an endeavour may seem to women who like the idea, this may be a threat to the established order. Men in authority worry about women talking freely to each other.
Jean Shinoda Bolen, M.D. in Urgent Message from Mother: Gather the Women, Save the World

Sunday Service: Immigration

Statue of Liberty, New York

Statue of Liberty, New York (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!
Emma Lazarus

The lines above are the concluding lines to the poem written on the Statue of Liberty. Almost all of us who live in the United States have stories in our backgrounds of how our ancestors came to this country. Most were immigrants.

Every once in a while, the politics of this country lean towards protectionism and nationalism, resulting in laws to keep out more immigrants. But these laws are a slap in the face to the founding premise of this country, that we would welcome all who come here.

On Wednesday, the Supreme Court will hear opening arguments on Arizona’s anti-immigrant law. I participated in a witness vigil against the law tonight. If you are so moved, there will be more vigils in communities across the U.S. in the coming days, and rallies and vigils outside the Supreme Court on Wednesday.

I don’t often discuss politics on this blog, but I feel moved to write on this topic — it is not a matter of mere politics, but of justice and human rights. For everyone whose ancestors immigrated to this country, I believe it is our duty to keep the doors open for more immigrants. We can’t slam the doors shut just because we got our chance. There is plenty for everyone.

Domestic Violence Policies in the Workplace

I was planning on writing something about women’s spirituality and feminism today, but I read a post at Ask a Manager that changed my mind. Today, AaM posted comments from a reader about the importance of domestic violence policies in the workplace, and I think it is too important to ignore.

How many workplaces think about how their telephone call policies affect the safety of their employees, or what to do if an abusive partner shows up at the workplace? Read this, and think about it.

We have to talk about this

It is not okay that we live in a world where women have to write posts like this On Being an Object, and then Not Being an Object and like this It Should be Said. I am so glad they have spoken out, but women should not be treated as objects. The women who wrote those posts are brave enough to share their stories with their readers. I am not ready to share mine. I wish with all my heart that no woman ever, ever had those stories to tell.

Women are not objects, to be leered at, touched, and taken advantage of. Most men know that. Some don’t. This is not okay.

Tell your daughters not to let anyone touch them or talk to them in a way that makes them uncomfortable. Tell your sons that, too. And then tell them not to do that to anyone else, either.

Speak out when you see men treat women (or girls) badly. Speak out when you are treated badly. Speak out when other women speak out. If we all make our voices heard, maybe we can change the world.

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