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When I saw Jenny Nordberg on the Daily Show talking about this phenomenon, I knew I had to check out her book, The Underground Girls of Kabul.  In one of the most sex-segregated cultures on earth, there are young girls who go out in boy's clothes and are treated as boys, even when their neighbors and schoolmates know she's biologically female.

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The big news:  Nigerian army rescued 293 women and girls from Boko Haram earlier this week, and more were reported on Thursday. As of today, the number rescued is now given as 677 girls and women. Many of them fought their abductors.  It's unknown if this includes any of  the girls abducted from Chibok last year, and it's also unknown how many women and young girls are still being held captive and/or forced into "marriages" with Boko Haram fighters.

The good, the bad and the ugly below the orange whirligig.

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I'm a fan of David Futrelle's blog We Hunted the Mammoth, which cheerfully mocks misogynists in their assorted forms:  "men's rights activists" who are convinced women are out to steal their sperm for the child support, GameGhazi loons, and self-proclaimed pickup artists who talk about women as kitchenware, among other things.

One of the would-be pickup artists has decided to embrace poetry as a means of charming the Vagina Units - er, ladies.  Futrelle offered some samples, and, well, To His Coy Mistress it isn't.  I try not to be too cruel on the subject of misspellings, but dude:  roses have petals, not pedals.

Top Comments recognizes the previous day's Top Mojo and strives to promote each day's outstanding comments through nominations made by Kossacks like you. Please send comments (before 9:30pm ET) by email to topcomments@gmail.com or by our KosMail message board. Just click on the Spinning Top™ to make a submission. Look for the Spinning Top™ to pop up in diaries posts around Daily Kos.

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I posted a ramble recently about my childhood memories of Star Trek and Spock. The Star Trek universe got a reboot in the 1980's, giving us Star Trek:  The Next Generation.  Now it's hard to believe the Trek universe ever existed without Jean-Luc Picard and Data, not to mention Q.

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Top Comments recognizes the previous day's Top Mojo and strives to promote each day's outstanding comments through nominations made by Kossacks like you. Please send comments (before 9:30pm ET) by email to topcomments@gmail.com or by our KosMail message board. Just click on the Spinning Top™ to make a submission. Look for the Spinning Top™ to pop up in diaries posts around Daily Kos.

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Hi folks.  Christine is taking a sick day this week - get well soon!  So, this week is a group effort.  Many thanks to ramara and elenacarlena for collecting links.  We can really use some volunteers for the coming weeks!

The good, the bad and the ugly below the orange XX chromosome.

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This week there are two cases in particular that involve using the criminal justice system as a bludgeon against reproductive rights.

The first is the case of Purvi Patel, who has been discussed before in this space.  In Indiana, she was convicted of both "fetal homicide" and "child neglect," even though she can't possibly have done both:  either she had a miscarriage (as she has maintained), or the baby was born alive.  Purvi Patel has now been sentenced to 30 years in prison, with 10 years suspended and 5 years probation.

In Nashville, there have been at least four cases where prosecutors have demanded sterilization as part of a plea deal.  The latest case involves a woman whose 5-day-old baby died under uncertain circumstances.  They weren't able to determine a cause of death - but charged her with neglect anyway, apparently because the woman had a history of mental illness.  Sterilization abuse is always aimed at the least powerful:  disabled people, impoverished people, people of color.  See, for example, California's recent scandal involving involuntary sterilization of prisoners.

Across the country, there have been a number of criminal prosecutions of pregnant women for legal acts:  drinking alcohol, failing to follow doctor's orders - and in at least one case, a woman spent a year in jail before it was determined that her miscarriage was caused by taking prescribed medication according to doctor's orders.

The good, the bad and the ugly below the orange indictment.

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Starting March 20, anyone adopted in Ohio between 1964 and 1996 can request their adoption file and original birth certificate.  Birth parents were given the option to have their names redacted, and out of 400,000 records, about 100 people asked for the redaction.

It's a complicated question, and I've seen it from the perspective of knowing and working with birth parents, adoptees, and adoptive parents.  On balance, I think Ohio's approach is a good one:  make secrecy opt-in, not opt-out.  

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Once in a while you run across a story that sums up exactly what's meant by the term "War on Women."  

The Justice for Victims of Human Trafficking Act was supposed to be a non-controversial bill that used money from fines against human traffickers to compensate victims and help them get a fresh start.  While women and girls are not the only victims of human trafficking, they are particularly vulnerable in sex trafficking, and you would think that reproductive freedom was one of the very basic rights they would need to reclaim.

But Republicans slipped a change into the bill:  no funds from it could be used for abortion.  Because nothing says "freedom" like forcing a former slave to have her rapist's baby.  It's now unclear if the bill will pass at all.

The good, the bad and the ugly below the orange amendment.

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Last Friday our modem had a total nervous breakdown and went to the Great Scrap Heap in the Sky.  Today was the soonest they could get a repair person out.  Five days of no news on the latest attempts to repeal Obamacare.  No Cheers & Jeers.  No emails begging me to chip in $5 to save the world.  No Top Comments.  And OMG NO POOTIE PICS I HAD TO LOOK AT MY LIVE CATS AND TRY TO PICTURE CAPTIONS FOR THEM!

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Top Comments recognizes the previous day's Top Mojo and strives to promote each day's outstanding comments through nominations made by Kossacks like you. Please send comments (before 9:30pm ET) by email to topcomments@gmail.com or by our KosMail message board. Just click on the Spinning Top™ to make a submission. Look for the Spinning Top™ to pop up in diaries posts around Daily Kos.

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The recent loss of Leonard Nimoy got me thinking about the Star Trek phenomenon, and why it meant so much to me and a whole lot of other people.  Gene Roddenberry's creation offered an optimistic view of the future, filled with discoveries and endless wonder, where humanity's best qualities emerged triumphant.

Growing up, I used to play Star Trek with my brother and other kids.  My brother liked to play Scotty (not coincidentally, my brother's now an engineer).  But I always had to be Spock.  My cousin once tried to argue that I had to be Uhura, since she was the only girl, but he was overruled.  It's not that I'm particularly logical like Spock, but he was the alien, the one who got to be different from everybody else.  The Spock factor is a large part of Star Trek's enduring appeal for self-identified nerds:  even when he was right (which was often), he was still an outsider.  This trope carried over through the various Star Trek incarnations.

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Top Comments recognizes the previous day's Top Mojo and strives to promote each day's outstanding comments through nominations made by Kossacks like you. Please send comments (before 9:30pm ET) by email to topcomments@gmail.com or by our KosMail message board. Just click on the Spinning Top™ to make a submission. Look for the Spinning Top™ to pop up in diaries posts around Daily Kos.

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Last April, I posted about a pernicious rule change that allowed the Social Security Administration to pursue repayment for "overpayments" that were years or decades old - including demanding repayment from children or other relatives of the individuals who actually received the money.  My family was one of those affected.

After some blistering articles in the Washington Post and elsewhere, the SSA announced it would be "suspending these practices."  Once the publicity died down, however, they decided that "these practices" only meant seizing tax refunds as a way of collecting payments.  They are now arguing in Federal court that it is legitimate to (among other things) collect repayments from people who had been minors at the time the money went to their parents.

But first, a word from our sponsor!

Top Comments recognizes the previous day's Top Mojo and strives to promote each day's outstanding comments through nominations made by Kossacks like you. Please send comments (before 9:30pm ET) by email to topcomments@gmail.com or by our KosMail message board. Just click on the Spinning Top™ to make a submission. Look for the Spinning Top™ to pop up in diaries posts around Daily Kos.

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Greetings, fellow scribblers.  Sensible Shoes was last seen cutting words out of a dictionary with a chainsaw, complaining that it was too wordy.  So, I'm here for the duration.

I've mentioned before how my favorite editor taught me that, "The villains think they're the heroes."  But when dealing with minor characters, it's sometimes helpful to remember that everyone thinks they're the hero - or at least, everyone thinks they're the main character.

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