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!

Legal Analysis: Mel Gibson's tapes should be enough for conviction with jail time


What are you gonna get a fucking restraining order for? For me being drunk and disorderly? For me hitting you? For what?
You know what Mel, I most certainly hope she has gotten a restraining order for all of the above!   The second tape of Mel Gibson's conversations with Oksana was released, but media still aren't covering his hateful speech with much indignation.  In fact, many commenters on the few articles that are talking about it very much blame Oksana for her gold-digging ways, which supposedly mean she had Mel's behavior coming to her.

Thanks to Mel's idiocy, Oksana has recorded proof of at least some of his threats, which will empower any other claims she makes about his words and actions, and really harm him in front of the jury.  So, hopefully her spousal abuse claim is successful, and he's put away for the maximum 6 years if convicted of the felony count.

Felony Spousal abuse (CA Penal Code 273.5) occurs when
Any person willfully inflicts upon ... a cohabitant or ... parent of [their] child, corporal injury resulting in a traumatic condition is guilty of a felony ... [punishable] by imprisonment ... for two, three, or four years, or by a fine of $6,000, or by both.
The statute defines "traumatic condition" as a wound, "whether minor or serious" - and if she has proof of the two teeth being knocked out, that wound would definitely qualify as a serious wound to meet that condition.  Having inflicted a serious wound upon Oksana, and admitted to it in that conversation - Mel should be guilty of a felony count of spousal abuse, with at minimum 2 years in jail, if not four.

But, the court could be lenient and simply fine him the $6,000 and essentially not punish him at all.  If we as a society showed a bit more outrage, maybe the judge would too.

The lesser included offense of terroristic threats could potentially add another 6 months of jail time, if the judge chose to make the penalties run consecutive to one another.

CA Article 3.6, Title 11.5 "Terroristic Threats" law provides in part:
Any person who willfully threatens to commit a crime which will result in death or great bodily injury to another person, with the specific intent that the to be taken as a threat, ... so specific as to convey to the person threatened a gravity of purpose and an immediate prospect of execution of the threat...
Penalty under this section is up to one year in jail.  And, not only did Mel make exactly the sort of threat described under this section of the statute, but Oksana has recorded, indisputable proof of the tone and circumstances of the conversation.

CA Penal Code 242: Battery is defined as
any willful and unlawful use of force or violence upon the person of another.
According to this tape, Mel admits to at least one instance of hitting Oksana in the face hard enough to knock out two of her teeth.  He takes his admission one step further and shouts "You deserved it!"

CA Penal Code 241:
Assault is an unlawful attempt, coupled with present ability, to commit a violent injury on another person.
In this tape, Mel references the last time he had hit Oksana, and continues to threaten her throughout the conversation.  Towards the end of the tape, he tells her he's coming over, and when she threatens to call the police, he tells her
"I'll put you in a fucking rose garden, you cunt. You understand that? Cuz I'm capable. You understand that?"
Judging by his past actions, and total willingness to hit her with force enough to knock out teeth (while she's holding a baby!), Mel is capable and willing to follow through on his threats.  Judging by Oksana's tense emotion in describing her fear for her and her daughter's life - it's also abundantly clear that Oksana appreciate the gravity in Mel's threats as serious and possible.

Now - these three charges are pretty compelling on this tape alone, not to mention any other evidence she may have such as doctor's records of injuries.  This tape (along with the tape released earlier) would also serve to bolster any other claims she has against Mel for abuse.  

Let's just hope he's prosecuted!  Maybe then the media will feel like giving him some bad publicity instead of focusing all their attention on poor LiLo.

"Huge" - positive new show on ABC Family - I hope it lasts! **SPOILERS**


"When i see propoganda that I know is destroying girl's brains, it's my duty as an angry feminist to destroy it."  Willamina
Last week, ABC Family aired the pilot episode of its new summer show "Huge", and has gotten some pretty positive reviews as well as some lackluster ones.  Fatshionista has been doing some pretty thorough coverage of the show from a size-positive perspective, as well.  The show is on Monday nights at 9pm on ABC Family.

Most characters who've gotten air time on the show thus far have been women: Blonsky's cabin of girls seems to be the focus of the show; the camp leader is a woman, the counselor is a woman (an overly chipper one a la Dr. Sydney Heron from Grey's Anatomy) and one of the trainers is a woman (a seeming parody, and subtle criticism, of Jillian Michaels of "The Biggest Loser").  The kids at "fat camp" are by no means all girls, but the emphasis is simply on the female characters.  Additionally, something I appreciate is that the show hasn't given everything away in the first two episodes (like the failed ABC Show "The Deep End"), but it has definitely begun weaving threads of the plot we can expect to see in the later episodes of this season.

The "clique" lines are drawn early on in the first episode, and the prettiest (read: thinnest, blondest, fairest) girl, Amber, is at the top of the food chain, with other girls fawning over her. Will and Amber are bunkmates, and Will takes objection to Amber from the get go. Will isn't happy about being at camp, and is making a mockery of it at every opportunity.  She gets in trouble for selling junk food to fellow camp members, and immediately assumes Amber told the camp director.  While Amber seems to embrace her position at the top to some extent, the second episode elaborates upon a strained home life that humanizes Amber beyond the looks everyone seems to evaluate her for.

There's also the usual teenage romance and "obsession" with members of the opposite sex - Amber is instantly the alluring object for the male trainer.  While this is predictable, and poses a potential issue down the line since these characters are all under 18 (something I'm assuming by the parental updates from the director, the letters kids wrote home, and the parents "checking" their kids in to the camp), and presumably this trainer is over 18. Almost guaranteed to cross the line of appropriate in future episodes based on their interactions in the second episode.

A nice aspect of the character is that he's attractive, and also says he is deaf in one ear - but it didn't seem to be something he struggled with, and I haven't noticed any sort of hearing devices in these first two episodes.  Nice that he's not "perfect" and airtime is given to a disability as acceptable/normal, but it may have been nicer had ABC chosen a bolder imperfection.

The first episode also touches on issues of female camaraderie and what it means to be a "friend". Will's best customer of contraband junk food, Caitlin [also Amber's friend] getting kicked out of camp for throwing up her meals.  Instead of focusing on disordered eating, the conversation in the girls' cabin revolved around what it means to be and support a friend.  Will runs away from camp, and her best friend, Becca, tells Amber about her regrets of not being supportive enough of her friend. Amber admits she was the one who told the director about Caitlin throwing up, not thinking it would be serious enough to get kicked out, but recognizing it was serious enough to notify the director.  They bond over their transgressions in friendship.

Family, as well as "fat camp alumni", issues are developed through the director of the camp, Dorothy Rand.  She is humanized as a former member of the camp, with difficult relationships with her parents, and an allusion to a residual struggle with food. The second episode shows more of the director's strained relationship with her father.  We learn that she hasn't known her father, and that they anticipate her mother is not happy about the renewed relationship. Rand is played by a Cuban actress, and her father is played by a white actor - so their might be some race issues discussed in the development of this story line.

Another touch at family issues is the sibling relationship between Chloe and Alistair, during an awkward meeting in the woods at night where Chloe is exceedingly harsh toward her brother as he attempts to hold a conversation about her day.  She throws at him the mail their mother had sent and leaves him in tears.  This one was quite sad - she seems to completely ignore him in social interactions, and now won't even talk to him at a clandestine meeting in the woods?  It's definitely touching on the degree of power her insecurities has that it can overcome any urge for basic kindness toward her own brother.

I'm not sure the show deals with issues perfectly, but it definitely makes good faith attempts.  The only character, Will, who doesn't buy into the whole "fat camp" establishment also seems to, overall, be a kid who has problems with authority and discipline.  So her rebellion against normative weight assumptions is painted as teenage rebellion, and potentially loses some of its power.  Additionally, many of these characters are  'normal' Americans, and instead of depicting them as normal, they're being shown at fat camp. While the writer claims to have read "fat blogs" to frame the characters more realistically, and the cast is more diverse than most (beyond its predominantly "plus sized" cast), these "steps in the right direction" may not be enough for some who still feel unrepresented by the show's cast.

Some have mentioned that the characters aren't fat enough to be at fat camp, and reinforce the idea that average sized Americans are "fat", and there are still mostly white characters. Also, in response to rumors Will might be gay, Becca has an outburst "Will's not gay!" near the end of episode two - highlighting that it's a big deal to be gay, and she should "defend her friend's honor" by correcting assumptions.  At least, earlier, Will asks if she looks gay, but insists "it's not a big deal". I'm still ambivalent on that one.
"I'm down with my fat.  Me and my fat are like BFF." - Will

Imperfect as it may be - this show definitely has its gems!  Amber uses pictures of extremely thin models for her "thinspiration", and Will counters those images with images of curvier women and calls it her "fatspiration".  What did you all think?  Was it too full of cliches? Did the writers not do enough to counteract stereotypes?