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Sunday News Round-Up, Level 90 Edition

October 28, 2012

undead frost mage and her water elemental, hitting level 90 in world of warcraft

  • First up, a reminder that the Educate Congress campaign keeps rolling – we just hit 100 supporters of the effort to send a copy of the current Our Bodies, Ourselves book to all members of the U.S. Congress! We’re about 20% of the way to our goal now, so still need your support!
  • Hurricane preparedness tips from the CDC for my east coast friends.
  • At Vanderbilt University, a campus map of places where breastfeeding is welcome. Now, because of state law, women are actually allowed to breastfeed anywhere women are allowed to be. So I don’t really like the “breastfeeding welcomed here” language of the campaign *because regardless of personal feelings of welcome, it’s allowed everywhere.* It probably is nice to know which places aren’t likely to result in hassle, though, and some of these places have spaces set up where women can do so privately if desired. It’s nice that any effort is being made to be more supportive, though, and I hope that managers of the many, many women who aren’t in office jobs at a university are being supported in taking the break time necessary to make use of these spaces.
  • See also this post on the Take Back the Night event happening at Vanderbilt this Tuesday night.
  • Relatedly, in the New York Times this week: Student’s Account Has Rape in Spotlight, on how campus leadership can fail victims of assault:

    “Eventually I reached a dangerously low point, and, in my despondency, began going to the campus’ sexual assault counselor,” the woman wrote in The Amherst Student. “In short I was told: No you can’t change dorms, there are too many students right now. Pressing charges would be useless, he’s about to graduate, there’s not much we can do. Are you SURE it was rape?”

  • Yecch, Roseanne Barr – that was some unpleasant, cissexist business (explanation via Marti at The Transadvocate).
  • Jacqueline at Laika’s MedLibLog makes the important point that being published in a high-profile Glowing pumpkin jack-o-lantern in the Ruins of Lordaeron in World of Warcraft for Hallow's Endjournal *is not* in itself evidence that the study findings are true or reliable, in Why Publishing in the NEJM is not the Best Guarantee that Something is True: a Response to Katan.
  • For my public health geeks, there’s a new MMWR app for the iPad.
  • At Feministe, Donate for an Actual Cure – a response to October pinkwashing.
  • In “Why I am Pro-Life” at the New York Times, Thomas L. Friedman writes (emphasis added):

    In my world, you don’t get to call yourself “pro-life” and be against common-sense gun control — like banning public access to the kind of semiautomatic assault rifle, designed for warfare, that was used recently in a Colorado theater. You don’t get to call yourself “pro-life” and want to shut down the Environmental Protection Agency, which ensures clean air and clean water, prevents childhood asthma, preserves biodiversity and combats climate change that could disrupt every life on the planet. You don’t get to call yourself “pro-life” and oppose programs like Head Start that provide basic education, health and nutrition for the most disadvantaged children. You can call yourself a “pro-conception-to-birth, indifferent-to-life conservative.” I will never refer to someone who pickets Planned Parenthood but lobbies against common-sense gun laws as “pro-life.”

  • Ruth White at Provoking Policy talks about the ethics of studying people in poverty, in Good intentions, exploitation and studying ‘the poor.‘:

    I think it is time to leave poor people alone; to use our power to protect them from our insatiable curiousity about their lives through actively fighting with them for social policies that raise their standard of living and education and gives them more access to resources and power. Replicability may be a founding principle of science but after a point we move to redundancy. If we still feel the need to ask questions of the poor, perhaps we can let them guide the way. This means we give up our ‘intellectual superiority’ and become servants to the poor, asking the questions to which they want answers. This may mean less articles for me to review for lofty (and not so lofty) journals but it may mean that more of what we write gets read by more people, and more of what we read educates us in a meaningful way that makes social change possible.

  • Via Melissa McEwan at Shakesville, Mourdock Ain’t Sorry, You Losers! – because honestly, the idea that your deity is hands-on enough to give you a rape baby but not enough to bother preventing your rape makes your deity seem kind of egregious.
  • There’s no clip I can find to embed, but on this week’s Real Time with Bill Maher, panelist Chrystia Freeland made the point nobody ever wants to make, but which I believe – rape exceptions for abortion are hypocritical from a purely pro-life standpoint. Freeland explained that if your objection to abortion is that life is sacred and once an egg joins a sperm it has an inherent, unrevokable right to exist, the circumstances of the conception *do not matter.* I would carry this thought through to say that if you then say that women who have been raped have a right to abortion because they didn’t choose to have sex, or because of the violation of the rape, then that tells us that your anti-abortion position hinges on whether women have been punished enough, a “you made your bed, you have to lie in it” perspective that is more about imposing your own ideas about how much women should be made to suffer and what consequences you think they should be forced to experience for having sex, rather than a pure idea about the sanctity of life.
  • Finally Leslie Cannold at TEDxCanberra on abortion and shame, found via Viva la Feminista. It’s really smart and awesome.

Note: Whenever I mention Vanderbilt, that’s my personal opinion, not anything official on behalf of the university. Most people are smart enough to understand that, but I like to make it explicit.

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