PSA: Day of Blogs 2008

by matttbastard

Cara of The Curvature and Feministe is participating in today’s Day of Blogs blogathon. RAINN is the very worthy organization that is benefiting from her tireless efforts.  Go check it out–Cara will be updating every 30 minutes until 9am EDT Sunday morning.

(Full list of participants here.)

Recommend this post at Progressive Bloggers

Homeland Insecurity in the US Dividing Refugee Families

by matttbastard

Steve Lannen of the Lexington Herald-Leader reports on the unintended consequences of so-called ‘material support’ provisions contained within the Patriot Act:

Losi Grodya works two jobs, has a driver’s license, is working on a community college degree and is readying to take her U.S. citizenship exam.

Despite all she has accomplished since settling in Lexington as a refugee from her native Democratic Republic of Congo nearly six years ago, she feels helpless when she talks on the phone with her daughters. Their home has been a Rwandan refugee camp for the past four years.

”They ask me when they are coming. Why is it taking so long? They tell me since I am in America, I must be able to do something to get them to come, but I’ve tried everything I can,“ Grodya said. ”I just want them to come here so we can all be together again. … But I can’t even do that.“

Her daughters, who as of late January were approved by U.S. officials to join her in Lexington as refugees, have seen their cases caught up in a post-9/11 provision in the Patriot Act that bars people from entering the United States if suspected of aiding a terrorist group.

[…]

After months of delay, Grodya learned last week that her daughters are suspected of providing material support to a terrorist group. But she doesn’t know precisely what they are suspected of doing.

Grodya’s five daughters have shared stories not of complicity, but of kidnapping and rape in a country torn apart by decadelong conflict, she said. She fears they have not told her the worst, but that what they have said ”is now being turned against them.“

Unfortunately, because it wasn’t published in the New York Times or the Washington Post, the story of Losi Grodya–and the broader issue underlying her plight–likely won’t get the attention it deserves. But hopefully a little blogospheric momentum will help broaden its impact. So, please, read the whole thing, blog about it, pass it along to your friends, your colleagues, and (if you’re one of our American readers) your Congresscritters.

Recommend this post at Progressive Bloggers

Obey: Black, Gay, and Female? Talk About a Prime Target For Protection and Service.

by matttbastard

Via Renee:

Elle nails it:

What I noticed about the video (aside from the cops jerking a young woman off a public bus and injuring her for a damned finger sign) was how police brutality has led us to be always ready to assume the defense. Her mother stated over and over that her daughter was “good” and wasn’t a “criminal.” She’d never been in any trouble. She theorized that the police officers’ actions were a manifestation of the  problem” LBPD has with young, black lesbians.

[…]

What do you say when we are still at the point where we assume the defensive, have to proclaim our status as “good” and “like everyone else,” otherwise mistreating us is okay?

Renee also has it exactly right:

If the people who are supposed to be upholding the law, daily violate the law, then we have no law.  What we have is a masquerade of justice wherein certain bodies matter, and others are only considered to the extent that can be exploited, and marginalized.

Oh, and in case you were wondering, “assaulting a police officer” is an Orwellian synonym for ‘disobedience’, as manifested in this specific instance by Ms. Patton not showing appropriate fealty towards, as Elle puts it, “the power of the uniform.”  And, these days, that’s a hollow, impotent power, devoid of any earned respect or authority to bolster the legitimacy of those who wear the uniform.  I mean, really, would a goddamn bird-flip warrant such a horrifyingly disproportionate response unless the officers who got dissed didn’t feel obligated to subsequently assert and affirm their dominance–to demand obedience–by force?

Recommend this post at Progressive Bloggers

John McCain: Domestic Violence is Hi-fucking-larious

by matttbastard

Now here’s a surefire strategy to win over those mythical feminist Clinton supporters who refuse to support Obama no matter what–channel the spirit of Henny Youngman:

As the Huffington Post reported, McCain in an interview with the Las Vegas Sun headed for the gutter while trying to explain why he did not choose Republican Governor Jim Gibbons (now in the midst of a messy divorce and previously the subject of sexual assault allegations) as his Nevada campaign chair:

McCain: I appreciate his support. As you know, the lieutenant governor is our chairman.

Q: Why snub the governor?

McCain: I didn’t mean to snub him. I’ve known the lieutenant governor for 15 years and we’ve been good friends….I didn’t intend to snub him. There are other states where the governor is not the chairman.

Q: Maybe it’s the governor’s approval rating and you are running from him like you are from the president?

McCain: (Chuckling) And I stopped beating my wife just a couple of weeks ago…

I’m sure clever one-liners like that totally crack up his man-crushing Beltway fanclub during bourbon-fueled late night josh sessions on the Straight Talk Express, but it’s a safe bet they aren’t the sort of entreaties that feminists (or, I’d wager, most women in general) find particularly persuasive.

Yr doin’ it wrong, McSogynist.

Recommend this post at Progressive Bloggers

Read this now (The honeymoon is over)

by matttbastard

Renee of Womanist Musings is guestblogging at Feministe for the next two weeks. Her inaugural post is a must-read:

When you think of the Niagara region immediately the mind turns to the majestic falls. Some who have spent more than an afternoon here will think of places like the Welland Canal, The Skylon Tower, Fallsview Casino, Clifton Hill, and maybe even the dearth of reasonably priced hotels, and restaurants. The aforementioned sites are the Niagara region you are supposed to think about. It is what you will find printed in all of those handy little pamphlets, that the tour guides like to give out. Yes the safe family destination, where everything is bright and sunny. What you will not hear about are the women that have been killed here since 1996.

I know y’all can’t help but go and read the rest. Is hard going due to the subject matter–trigger warnings most definitely apply–but is a vital endeavour. Go.

Recommend this post at Progressive Blogger

Placeholder + Stephine Beck Update

by matttbastard

Sure would be nice if blogging, not The Day Job, paid the bills. Alas, my primary source of income has been extra demanding the past little while, hence the minimal/sporadic blogging from yours truly. Hopefully things lessen up soon–and that my wonderful, magnanimous, ever-so-talented cobloggers continue to occasionally remind everyone that, yes, this is actually a group blog.

Anyway, while life continues to get in the way of living for yours truly, please do head over to Womanist Musings for an update on the Stephine Beck case. To summarize: in response to a broad spectrum of outrage, the Crown is filing a motion of appeal with the Ontario Court of Appeal to overturn the 1 day sentence given to Wayne Ryczak after the St Catharines resident was convicted in the death of Beck, a local sex trade worker. Thank fucking reason.

Recommend this post at Progressive Bloggers

Benedict Ambrose

by matttbastard

900Ft Jesus on Rona Ambrose publicly selling out lending her support to Bill C-484:

It is appalling to have anyone try to undermine women’s rights, but worse yet when it comes from a woman who benefitted from the dedication and sacrifice of those who fought for those rights then after she has hers, turns around and tries to gut them. In Harper’s ideal world, Ambrose would not be an MP. She would be at home, breeding until she ran out of viable ovaries, getting dinner ready for her hard working man, prettying herself up for him, and making sure she has a smile for him when he got home. No matter how she may have felt that day, wondering if that is all there is.

Ouch–that’s gonna leave a mark.

Recommend this post at Progressive Bloggers

Number 21 With a Bullet

by matttbastard

Nothing says teh funnah quite like a user-generated snuff film:

In the video, a group of male co-workers bored at work begin to chant Boys v. Girls as a challenge. Thing is, there’s only one female in the group, so it’s essentially all the boys ganging up on one girl to torment her…brutalize her…violate her…and eventually kill her. Then they’re seen dragging her body into a storage area for the dead bodies of all the other female co-workers with whom they’ve evidently played this fun game.

Web 2.0 just made satire do a full 360 in its grave (and yours truly throw up a little bit in his mouth). Again, Backlash = user manual for the zeitgeist–with Henry Makow playing the role of tour guide.

(Note: if you want to watch the vid, Liss has posted it at her pad–view at your own risk. )

Recommend this post at Progressive Bloggers

Man Kills Prostitute, Gets Less Than 2 Years. What the FUCK?

by Isabel

The day after admitting he killed a woman and dumped her body on a rural road, a St. Catharines, Ont., man was released from jail.

Judge Stephen Glithero sentenced Wayne Ryczak, 55, to one day in jail on Thursday for the death of 29-year-old Stephine Beck.

The one-day sentence is in addition to time Ryczak already served since his March 5, 2007, arrest — time the judge said was equivalent to 30 months.

“Devastated, we’re devastated,” Beck’s mother, Alice Dort, said from her home in Nova Scotia shortly after a police detective broke the news by phone. “This is just so unbelievable.” “There’s no justice. None whatsoever. I’m just so disgusted.”

The Crown asked for seven to 10 years in jail.

Ryczak’s lawyer requested two years less a day to be served in the community.

After deliberating for 20 minutes, Glithero said a 30-month sentence in the penitentiary would be appropriate and Ryczak had already served it. Ryczak was also given three years’ probation.

Exactly what I needed to wake up to. Thanks, Canada!

This is fucking disgusting. A 30-month sentence is appropriate for killing a woman? Sure, if she has sex for money! After all, if you ladies happen to think you can do whatever you want with that vagina of yours, you deserve whatever it is that you get.

Fuck, I am so angry.

Update 05/17 (matttbastard): Ontario NDP Calls for Ontario AG to appeal 1 day sentence:

The Ontario NDP is calling on the attorney general to appeal the one-day sentence of a St. Catharines, Ont. man who plead guilty this week to manslaughter in the strangling death of 29-year-old Stephine Beck.

[…]

New Democratic Party Justice Critic Peter Kormos, in an open letter to Attorney General Chris Bentley, called on the province to ensure the sentence is appealed immediately.

“I tell you, sir, that the community is outraged,” Kormos wrote in his letter. “How can this sentence of one day, and it can barely be called a sentence, be justified?”

h/t pale via IM

Update 2 (matttbastard): From The St Catharines Standard:

“They just dismissed [Stephine Beck’s] life with that sentence,” said Dee Holman, a member of the community’s sex-trade task force. “They minimized her death.”

[…]

Holman said the sentencing made Ryczak appear to be the victim and minimized his use of drugs and prostitutes.

“(Beck) will never have a chance to get her drug and alcohol counselling,” Holman said. “Her life is gone.”

In sentencing Ryczak Thursday, Judge Stephen Glithero said he was not measuring the value of Beck’s life. “All life is valuable to us as a community,” he said.

He noted there were people in the courtroom for Wednesday’s plea hearing wearing T-shirts that read, “Sex work shouldn’t equal murder.”

“This was not a case whatsoever of anyone preying on a sex-trade worker,” Glithero said.

[…]

But Valerie Scott, executive director of Sex Professionals of Canada, which is in favour of legalizing prostitution, said a victim’s lifestyle is factored into court decisions.

“It happens all the time,” she said. “The laws against sex work continue to tell people that we’re disposable. It’s OK to kill us and murder us.”

The Ryczak sentencing puts the “gold seal of approval” on those actions, she said.

“If this were anyone else, it wouldn’t have gone down like that in court.”

Update 3 05/18 (matttbastard): Via ange @ light my heart on fire (all emphases mine):

Unfortunately, the case of Stephine Beck is not an anomaly. Within the last decade, six other women involved in sex work and living with substance abuse problems have been found murdered in the Niagara Region: Dawn Stewart, 32; Nadine Gurczenski, 26; Diane Dimitri, 33; Margaret Jugaru, 26; Cassey Cichocki, 22, and most recently, Shari Bacon, 36. Although the Niagara Regional Police convened a task force in 2007 and have since made one other arrest, Glithero’s sentence is reflective of a community-wide failure to value and protect the lives of some of the region’s most vulnerable citizens. The St. Catharines Standard routinely runs articles about “hookers loyal to their drug problems” (6 March, 2007) while the police department justifies its regular sweeping arrests of prostitutes (and subsequent public naming in The Standard, which does not report the names of men arrested for domestic abuse) by claiming that if you take away the supply, demand will vanish (July 2007). This appalling disdain for and ignorance of the realities and risks faced by sex workers is all the more horrifying when compared to the hysteria and moral outrage expressed by the entire Niagara community during and after the arrests, trials and verdicts of Paul Bernardo and Karla Homolka. That Homolka’s plea bargain was considered a deal with the devil while Ryczak was set free immediately upon pleading guilty is shameful and hypocritical, and reflects a clear double standard when it comes to which lives are valued and which are not.

Recommend this post at Progressive Bloggers

Catch of the Day

by Isabel

Trannycat Doll lead singer(?), Nicole Scherzinger, has taken the first step in dispelling all the rumors that everyone in this group has cocks by getting out of a car at Villa in Hollywood. Despite what my ex-girlfriend tells you, I’ve seen a lot of vaginas up close, so I’m comfortable saying this chick has one. I guess this is good news. She also looks like Pocahontas, so if you’re thinking about raping her, you can say it was just for a history project.

Wow. Just woowwww.

Update (matttbastard): Liss breaks out the teaspoon and serves up some stats on rape and Indigenous women. Also see this video, Sexual Violence Against Indigenous Women.  Oh, and fuck you and your transphobia, too, Todd.

Recommend this post at Progressive Bloggers