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I just received an email from an activist I admire greatly, urging me to support Move To Amend, an amendment that would attempt to reverse the damaging impact of the Citizen's United Supreme Court case.

But sadly, I believe the amendment as written could be worse than the disease. As written, its advocates admit that the amendment would strip nonprofit groups and unions of first amendment protections. It would mean that we would only have first amendment rights as atomized individuals, but the organizations we join to make any kind of real difference would be stripped of First Amendment protections. If passed, this could be a nightmare.

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I'll keep this brief.

In response to Sony pulling "The Interview," Bill Maher tweeted:

#TheInterview Is that all it takes - an anonymous threat and the numbers 911 - to throw free expression under the bus? #PussyNation
Now, I was with Maher until that second hashtag.

But misogynist (women-hating) responses aren't acceptable whether they originate with Republican candidates or liberal comedians. Please see my response and ideas for what we can do after the vulvar icon.

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Fri Dec 05, 2014 at 02:58 PM PST

What to Get Putin for His Birthday

by samdiener

Putin's birthdays have routinely been used by his supporters as opportunities for propaganda trumpeting his swaggeringly aggressive masculinity.

Valerie Sperling, the author of a new book: Sex, Politics, and Putin: Political Legitimacy in Russia, has written a blog post detailing this history.

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My ten-year old is a football fan, and so watched some of the first football game of the season tonight on TV. We repeatedly saw an ad telling men and boys to ignore a woman in horrific pain and pay attention to -- you guessed it -- football instead.
A recurring ad for Verizon's NFL app featured a scenario in which a guy is on a date with a woman at some sort of cooking school. He sees quarterback Drew Brees, who accusingly questions why he isn't watching football. He sheepishly tries to make his voice deeper and explains it's a first date. Brees tells him he can indeed watch football on his phone, and the guy is so excited about this that when his date catches fire behind him (the viewer only sees the flames but she screams and yells "help me") he, now watching football on his phone, raises his finger, saying, "one second," and ignores what would be her agony in favor of football.

(more of a description and ideas for what we might do to protest below the squiggle).


I object to men ignoring women's pain. I tweeted out a protest too:

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Fosse, a biography by Sam Wasson, is a very good show-business and personal biography of Fosse (the brilliant dancer, choreographer, director of stage and screen, and film editor) but the focus is too tightly on Bob Fosse, his relationships, and detailed descriptions of his role in musical theater history, to the neglect of a feminist socio-political analysis that could have made more sense of Fosse and his obsessions.

This mini-review touches on a few of these themes.

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The Bergdahl case raises a number of questions about the rights of military personnel. What can members of the military do when they face a crisis of conscience? How should laws and regulations be changed?


How should the US military handle crises of conscience?

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Thu May 15, 2014 at 11:06 PM PDT

Wim Wenders: Opinions Are Violent?

by samdiener

In an interview about their intriguing sounding new book, Inventing Peace, the acclaimed German film-maker Wim Wenders (of "Wings of Desire" fame) and the Australian philosopher Mary Zournazi, opined that "An opinion is a violent act very often."

To his credit, Wenders does qualify his claim with the "very often" phrase. And sometimes closed-minded opinions can be considered violent. But I fear that too many people who want to seek peace, including some of the students I teach (from the middle school to the college level), avoid expressing opinions almost as if it's a principle.

I've got an extended opinion about opinions.

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I'll keep this short. A bar in Spokane is selling a drink called "Date Grape Kool-Aid." Feminists in Spokane have protested, both online and in person, and the bar has not yet changed the name.
Please add your name to those rejecting this odious example of rape culture via a petition at the Petition Site. Please speak out against rape "jokes" that mock the pain inflicted by men's violence.


I've added my name to the petition

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Tue Nov 26, 2013 at 03:56 AM PST

Was Adam Lanza Anorexic?

by samdiener

[I originally wrote and published the material below this paragraph on DailyKos a year ago 2014-11-26]. The new report by the Office of the Child Advocate of CT (Shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School) confirms that he had been dangerously thin and malnourished for a number of years, but still doesn't discuss the possible psychological problems this malnourishment can cause, or the psychological problems that can result from vitamin D and B12 deficiency (as described in the comments below).]

Adam Lanza, the perpetrator of the massacre at Sandy Hook elementary school, at the time of his autopsy, was 72 inches tall and weighed only 112 pounds. If he was anorexic, what bio-psychological effects might this have had on him?

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Wed Sep 25, 2013 at 08:54 AM PDT

A Very Equal Rights Amendment (VERA)

by samdiener

Today is the anniversary of Congress approving the Bill of Rights in 1789. Facing History and Ourselves asked us what we would include in our own Bill of Rights. This got me thinking.

Let's introduce into Congress a broadened Very Equal Rights Amendment that would include a prohibition on discrimination on the basis of sex, but also add prohibitions to discrimination based on other key categories.


I'd Most Strongly Support

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With a heavy heart, I've re-written this too many times for too many school shootings, and I'll rewrite it soon to help teachers and parent respond specifically for the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary, but much of it is still all too apropos.

What follows is a memo I re-wrote earlier this year following the school shooting in Chardon, Ohio.

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There's a Facebook page entitled, appallingly, "Soldiers Deserve to Die - They're Murderers."

What follows is a revised and expanded version of a comment I posted on that putatively anti-militarist page:

I'm a pacifist, meaning I oppose all wars as crimes against humanity (see I'm an advocate of nonviolence, so strongly oppose the title of this page. One of many aspects I find appalling about this title is that it buys into the military-encouraged mindset of wishing harm, in this case deadly harm, on human beings trapped in an institution one opposes, in this case a military.

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