I.M.F. leader Strauss-Kahn arrested for sexual assault


I.M.F. leader, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, was pulled off of his JFK flight to France and arrested for assault of a hotel maid in the NY Soffitel. He is being charged with Attempted Rape, Criminal Sex Act and Unlawful Imprisonment.

Strauss-Kahn was briefly investigated a year into his tenure as I.M.F. leader for having an affair with a subordinate and then giving her preferential treatment, after which he was quoted as saying, "I firmly believe I have not abused my position". Alarmingly enough, while people called into question the judgment in keeping him in his position with the I.M.F., he was permitted to maintain his position.

He further stated,
"I agree with the board that the personal behavior of the managing director sets an important tone for the institution and I am committed, going forward, to uphold the high standards that are expected of this position," he said in the statement. 
Awesome that we're willing to put men who have no respect for women into positions of power, and allow them to maintain those positions while they continue to disrespect women. At least he's in jail for this one - for now.

Update: He's pleading not guilty and there's speculation as to whether his immunity as I.M.F. leader applies.
MF bylaws state that its officials "shall be immune from legal process with respect to acts performed by them in their official capacity except when the fund waives this immunity.
Happily, the New York Deputy Police Commissioner Paul Browne says Strauss-Kahn doesn't have immunity, nor has he tried to claim it. 

Happy Mother's Day!


NYT published an interesting piece today on the political history of motherhood, and the changing perceptions over the past two decades.

"There was indeed a time when full-time mothers were held in great esteem. But it was not the 1950s or early 1960s. It was 150 years ago. In the 19th century, women had even fewer rights than in the 1950s, but society at least put them on a pedestal, and popular culture was filled with paeans to their self-sacrifice and virtue. 

When you compare the diaries and letters of 19th-century women with those of women in the 1950s and early 1960s, you can see the greater confidence of the earlier mothers about their value to society. Many felt they occupied a “nobler sphere” than men’s “bank-note” world. 

These findings suggest that it is time to stop arguing over who has things worse or who does things better, stay-at-home mothers or employed mothers. Instead, we should pay attention to women’s preferences and options. 

Feminism has also fostered increased respect for men’s ability and desire to be involved parents. So we should also pay attention to expanding men’s ability to choose greater involvement in family life, just as we have expanded women’s ability to choose greater involvement in meaningful work."

Name It. Change It. Spread the word about ending sexist media coverage of women candidates!


Discovering Name It. Change It. totally made my day! Consider Tweeting and/or Facebooking this campaign - and using your social media voice to demand a fair, equitable landscape for women candidates in the upcoming elections!

About the Project: "Widespread sexism in the media is one of the top problems facing women. A highly toxic media environment persists for women candidates, often negatively affecting their campaigns. The ever-changing media landscape creates an unmonitored echo chamber, often allowing damaging comments to exist without accountability.

We must erase the pervasiveness of sexism against all women candidates — irrespective of political party or level of office — across all media platforms in order to position women to achieve equality in public office. We will not stand by as pundits, radio hosts, bloggers, and journalists damage women's political futures with misogynistic remarks. When you attack one woman, you attack all women."

Sprint-Android's Gender Bending commercial "The Epic Kiss"


I just saw this commercial during an episode of It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia (which was kind of disturbing, but that's another story) - and I LOVED it!  Take the 31 seconds to watch - you won't regret it.  To quote Sprint as they conclude the commercial, "Movies just got more awesome."  <3

Sprint has the "Epic" series of commercials - and this one is "The Epic Kiss" - a girl takes off her glasses and lets down her hair, shaking it lustfully.  Then the boy takes off his glasses and lets down his hair, shaking it lustfully.  Then, they go for the kiss - and he jumps onto her as someone throws rain at them from stage left.

Something about him shaking his hair, and then jumping up and wrapping his legs around her as she braced them both made me grin from ear to ear!

It pains me that it's getting hate on the internet, but I guess that's to be expected.  I decided to counteract the hate with some love, though!

The Fiction of the "Ground Zero Mosque" - and the facts around the Community Center


*edited to add discussion of Karen Hughes' article.

The debate surrounding the "Ground Zero Mosque" has some attacking its presence as insensitive and divisive, and others begging for religious tolerance, going so far as the Economist did to say the US Constitution demands we allow the Community Center to remain.  While it's a sensitive issue for both sides of the debate, the Economist and Keith Olbermann do an excellent job of synthesizing what it is to be American, and the protections we have in situations such as these.  Karen Hughes acknowledges these Constitutional protections, while also suggesting the community center be relocated as a gesture of goodwill and recognition of American sensitivities.

The Economist's piece on sense and sensitivity describes just how the provisions of our constitution come in to govern disputes of religion and tolerance in this country - on the side of religious freedom and tolerance.
Moreover, the call for sensitivity cuts both ways. Muslims, both inside and outside America, have worried since 9/11 that the attacks would spark widespread reprisals and discrimination. For some, the fuss about the mosque confirms their fears. It is impossible to be sensitive both to those who see the mosque as an affront and those who see opposition to it as proof of prejudice, which is why America has a constitution to adjudicate such disputes. And in this instance, the constitution comes down squarely on the side of the mosque-builders.
While The Economist uses terms such as "mosque-builders", Keith Olbermann made a special comment on August 16 explaining the details of the Community Center, how it is not a Mosque, that it is in no way visible from Ground Zero, and Ground Zero cannot be seen from the Community Center.  Before clarifying the facts surrounding the Center's existence, he begins his comment with the following Pastor Martin Neimollier quotation:
"They came first for the Communists, and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Communist.Then they came for the trade unionists, and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a trade unionist.Then they came for the Jews, and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Jew. Then they came for me and by that time no one was left to speak up."
And he concludes with mention of the Muslim Worship Center that has in fact existed just outside Ground Zero since before the World Trade Center was built - and implores us to see the situation for what it is and speak up:
The actual place that is the real-life equivalent of the paranoid dream contained in the phrase "Ground Zero Mosque," has been up and running, since before there was a World Trade Center, and for nine years since there has been a World Trade Center. 
Running, without controversy, without incident, without terrorism, without protest. Because this is America, dammit. 
And in America, when somebody comes for your neighbor, or his bible, or his torah, or his Atheists' Manifesto, or his Koran, you and I do what our fathers did, and our grandmothers did, and our founders did - you speak up. 
Karen Hughes seems to navigate artfully the sensitivities on both sides of the debate, but when she implores Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf and his congregation to relocate "the mosque" - her argument begins to sound uninformed and her sensitivity towards the Muslim side of the argument is diminished.  She nonetheless makes a compelling argument that Rauf and his congregation be the bigger person.
I recognize that I am asking the imam and his congregation to show a respect that has not always been accorded to them. But what a powerful example that decision would be. Many people worry that this debate threatens to deepen resentments and divisions in America; by choosing a different course, Rauf could provide a path toward the peaceful relationships that he and his fellow Muslims strive to achieve. And this gesture of goodwill could lead us to a more thoughtful conversation to address some of the ugliness this controversy has engendered. 
I wish the next sentence discussed the flip side, however - that this gesture of goodwill could be interpreted as an admission that all the criticism of insensitivity and terroristic insult is well founded; that the anger and resentment might only intensify when directed at Muslims unrelated to the attacks, Muslims who lost people in the 9/11 attacks (either in the towers, or the support staff who gave their lives in attempts to save those in the towers).

It seems like quite the gamble for Rauf - and an unfair forced choice when actual mosques exist in close proximity to Ground Zero, with no objection or controversy.

Not-for-Profit "Hot Bread Kitchen" trains refugee women in English and job placement - in exchange for bread recipes


"How can six women who speak five different languages turn out eight kinds of bread in one cramped industrial kitchen?"
By bringing together women from all over the world to help each other learn English, get jobs and bake delicious bread from their home countries. Jessamyn Waldman created a not for profit bakery, Hot Bread Kitchen, that provides training, English language classes and help with job placement in exchange for breads from the employees' homelands. With a degree in Public Administration, specializing in Immigrant Policy, a baking certificate and a grant to cover rent - Waldman has put 11 women through her training program to date.

Hot Bread Kitchen is a community of women working together and supporting each other, and creating a variety of specialty breads to then share with the city. Each new recruit (brought in through refugee-resettlement agencies like the International Rescue Committee) brings with her a new perspective, cultural background, and bread specialty.

If you're anywhere near Queens, NY - their next loaf is "amdopali, Tibetan-Style...with barley flour and buttermilk cooked in a skillet". Sounds delicious!

London responds to Catholic Church: buses to carry female ordination advert during Pope's visit


In case you missed it, last week the Vatican compared the attempted ordination of female priests to pedophilia as a "grave crime".

Well - London will be responding with bus advertisements on ten buses during the Pope's visit to London that read: "Pope Benedict Ordain Women Now".

Not sure the Pope is going to ride or even see a bus - but this decree definitely has sparked some interest and reengaged conversation about the exclusion of female priests by the Catholic Church, and the bus advertisements will only increase that public awareness!