"There is difference and there is power. And who holds the power decides the meaning of the difference." --June Jordan

Friday, March 28, 2008

The Dunbar Village Atrocity

I've been following the unfolding events of the Dunbar Village case at the wonderful blogs Black Women Vote! and What About Our Daughters?, and I was trying to compile some sources and links to bring readers up to speed when I saw that What About Our Daughters? has posted this Open Letter Regarding NAACP, Sharpton, and Dunbar Village Atrocity. They even included a link to their letter's html so folks can post it on their own blogs, which I have done here:

Subject: The Dunbar Village Atrocity


In the past week, a rapidly-moving viral email campaign was launched, and thousands of concerned black citizens spread the word about a shocking crime against a Black woman and her 12 year old son, in which crimes against nature were committed. (read more details of the crime here)

This email, entitled “Stop Al Sharpton and the NAACP from endangering Black Women,” described a stunning betrayal in which the NAACP and Al Sharpton held a press conference and demanded bail consideration for three suspects in custody for the crime. (source1) (source2)

Concerned Black citizens all around the country were outraged by the actions of the NAACP and Al Sharpton, and many vowed to withdraw volunteering and financial support from these agencies “until they make the safety of Black women and children a priority.”

On March 24, 2008 an NAACP memo that attempted to defend this betrayal was sent to Beverly Neal, who is the Director of the NAACP’s Florida State Conference. The memo claims that the NAACP was brought into this fray by Rev. Al Sharpton. Moreover, the memo was written by Maude Ford Lee, who is President of the West Palm Beach Branch of the NAACP. (read the memo here)

On March 27,2008, activist Al Sharpton went on the air to clarify his position on the treatment of the Dunbar Village Suspects. He invited writer Tonyaa Weathersbee and blogger Arlene Fenton to his show, to discuss the matter. Rev. Sharpton claimed that he never said that the Dunbar Village suspects were being treated unfairly, and that he did not want bail for the suspects in question.

Ms Weathersbee and Ms Fenton said that their research indicated otherwise, as indicated by video footage, eyewitness accounts, and the reporting from the Florida Sun Sentinel and the Palm Beach Post.

At the end of the radio show, Al Sharpton strongly condemned any activity that would promote bail consideration for the suspects in question. Rev. Sharpton admitted that “if the suspects were white, he would have been there sooner.” He stated that this is a problem with many black civil rights organizations. He apologized and vowed to uphold his prior promise to advocate for the residents of Dunbar Village. He also challenged all activists, bloggers, and writers to be accountable to each other.

To date, the NAACP has not made an official statement denouncing the Dunbar Village Atrocity, nor have they officially expressed regret to the victim. The NAACP also has not officially retracted their statement requesting bail consideration for the alleged rapists/torturers. To our understanding, neither agency has contributed to the Victim’s Assistance Fund or created a reward program geared toward the apprehension of the remaining rapists/torturers.


WE ARE SATISFIED with Al Sharpton’s qualifying statements that he made on his radio show on 3/27/2008. We will watch to see if he fulfills his promise to advocate for the residents of Dunbar Village, and we are willing to assist any effort that promotes safer black neighborhoods in West Palm Beach, FL.

WE ARE NOT CONTENT with the reckless, irresponsible actions of the NAACP (West Palm Beach chapter). We continue to urge all black people, women especially, to refrain from volunteering or giving financially to this organization until they take our safety seriously.


We want law enforcement to make a concerted, sustained effort to apprehend the remaining suspects. We want to see a genuine reward system in place to encourage members of the community to come forward with the knowledge of the whereabouts of the remaining suspects.

We want the NAACP (West Palm Beach chapter) to reverse their position that the alleged rapists/torturers of this case should be considered for bail.

We want both the NAACP and the National Action Network to cease downgrading the gang rape/torture/atrocity of the Dunbar Village by comparing it to an unrelated gang rape, in which guns, maiming, and forced incest were not involved.

We want to see genuine victim advocacy in the form of financial support for the relocation, medical expenses, and mental therapy for the true victims in this case.

The Dunbar Village Victim Assistance Fund

Individuals who would like to donate money to the victims can go to any Wachovia Bank and donate to the St. Ann’s Victim’s Assistance Fund. Donations will go directly to the mother and her son.

St. Ann’s Catholic Church will also accept donations. Checks can be made payable to the "Dunbar Village Victim Assistance Fund - St. Ann’s".

Donations can be mailed to: St. Ann’s Catholic Church, 310 N. Olive Avenue, West Palm Beach, FL 33401

If you would like to post this Open Letter on your blog, you can copy the HTML here:

(Blogger HTML) A New Underground Railroad is Born
(General HTML) A New Underground Railroad is Born

For more information about this Dunbar Village Campaign, you can visit any of the following blogs:


Thursday, March 27, 2008


So, conservative politicians are "pro-choice" when it comes to really important things like LIGHT BULBS, but not when it comes to family planning:
"Titled the 'Light Bulb Freedom of Choice Act,' the bill seeks to repeal the nationwide phase-out of conventional light bulbs, the kind that have been used for more than a century -- pretty much since the invention of the incandescent light bulb.

Bachmann, a first-term Republican, is challenging the nation's embrace of energy-efficient compact fluorescent lights, saying the government has no business telling consumers what kind of light bulbs they can buy." (emphasis mine)


Recommended Reading

From today's New York Times:
Kara Jesella - The Carrot Some Vegans Deplore: Casa Diablo Gentleman's Club is just the latest example of selling veganism with a "Girls Gone Wild" aesthetic.
It's not every day that you read something so chock-full of juicy feminist discussion material in the mainstream meadia.  Just about every paragraph brings up something to think about. 
For previous bloggy coverage on this particular club, see here and here, and to read some great commentary on the book Skinny Bitch, look hereherehere, and here.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Five Years

David Bowie: Five Years

My brain hurt like a warehouse
It had no room to spare...

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

In Case You Missed It

This moved me to tears:

It pains me that this speech was necessary, and it bothers me that the responsibility to make it fell on his shoulders. But these are things that needed to be said. And I'm glad they were. And while lots of people seem to think the "controversy" that prompted him to give this speech is going to hurt his chances of becoming our president, no single event in his campaign has done more to convince me that he is type of leader the United States desperately needs. Just, wow.

That said, the speech wasn't perfect. Like Melissa, I was left scratching my head over how he neglected to address the negativity Jeremiah Wright directed toward Hillary Clinton.
There's one significant (to me) issue I have, and it's his failure to mention Clinton (at least in the prepared text), at whom some of Wright's invective was personally directed. It probably wouldn't bother me except for the fact that Obama's been a little ungracious to her on a personal level during this campaign. Clearly, they and their surrogates have provided plenty of reason for them not to like one another, and maybe they don't—but they are still colleagues and ideological allies at the end of the day. And, call me old-fashioned, but I still would like my president to treat people, even people with whom s/he has disagreements, with respect, despite Bush having spent the past seven+ years trying to make that expectation an antiquated notion.

I don't like it when I see Obama turn his back on Clinton, or refuse to look at her during debates. I don't like that he has failed to say he expects his supporters to vote for her if she gets the nomination, and has generally ignored issues of sexism—which I strongly suspect is not because he doesn't care about it (he is the father of two daughters, after all), but because he worries that its mention will remind people of his opponent.

And I'm with Rachel about this:

... I’m an Obama supporter, but I really wish Obama would adopt a more balanced approach to Palestinian-Israeli relations. On the other hand, that would probably be political suicide. I can only hope that when he’s elected and the pressure lets off a little, he can afford to distinguish himself by promoting more even-handed solutions to peace in the Middle East.

But those and other small things aside, what a speech. Nearly forty minutes of sheer inspiration.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Friday, March 14, 2008


I just realized that I completely missed my 1-year blogiversary on February 4th.  I'll have to make up for it by partying extra hard for Pi Day.


(pi chart!)

Thursday, March 13, 2008

I Heart Ellen


Medical Expertise or Paternalism?

So why do doctors put women through the dreadful and draining experience of bed rest? Medical intuition, risk aversion, the intransigence of inertia - all these are certainly factors here. But, behind all of this, is there something else going on? Are doctors subconsciously acting on age-old stereotypes about what women should be doing during pregnancy? Are they putting women on bed rest because, when anything in life presents a difficulty to a pregnancy, the response is to make women stop whatever it is that they are doing in their lives and focus solely on being the babymakers that they biologically should be?

I am certainly not saying that my wife's doctor has this motivation or that any particular doctor does. But, when research shows that bed rest does not have benefits but the recommendation still persists, background assumptions about women and pregnancy have to be analyzed.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008


I'm so happy that someone has FINALLY posted one of my favorite scenes from my all-time favorite animated series (Home Movies) on YouTube:

I seriously can't get enough of it.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Horton Gets Co-Opted


Ay-yi-yi. Apparently, nothing is safe from being exploited and co-opted by anti-choicers. Not even our most beloved children's books. /Film is reporting today that today's L.A. movie premiere of the movie adaptation of Dr. Seuss' Horton Hears a Who! was crashed by a mob of "totally uninvited pro-life activists" who are into this movie because they perceive that somehow its message implies that women should be denied control over their bodies. (Their delusion is mostly based on the classic line from the book: "A person's a person, no matter how small.")

The protesters reportedly “chanted” pro-life messages after the flick was over, then applied red tape labeled with the word “LIFE” to their mouths and kept on protesting. What would Dr. Seuss think (WWDRST?).

So, even though my better judgment told me that Dr. Seuss would never really have approved of the anti-choicers' enthusiastic support, I still had to go poking around online to find some evidence, and site after site confirmed my hunch.

From answers.com (emphasis mine):

The book (most notably Horton the Elephant's recurring phrase "a person's a person, no matter how small") has found its way to the center of the recurring debate, in the United States, over abortion. Several pro-life groups have adopted the phrase in support of their views; the American Life League has even published a pamphlet using the phrase as the title. This has brought sharp criticism from Dr. Seuss' widow, Audrey Geisel, and at least one lawsuit was filed in Canada in 2001 to stop the use of the phrase. Before his death, Seuss himself threatened to sue a pro-life group for using the phrase.

So, I guess I have to give the forced-pregnancy movement some credit here. It takes courage to co-opt a famous line and reinterpret a message from a children's story when the creator of that story never meant what you wish it meant and was willing to take legal action to keep you from preaching your incorrect bastardization of his work.

Candidates' Statements on International Women's Day

Happy International Women's Day!

I noticed that both Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama's statements on International Women's Day were posted on their campaign blogs today. (Extensive Google searching yielded no evidence of any statement whatsoever from John McCain. Surprise, surprise.)

Click the links to read them in full.

Hillary's Statement

"When I attended the United Nations Fourth World Conference on Women more than a decade ago, I noted that 'every woman deserves the chance to realize her God-given potential.' But in order for her to do that, she must be given equal access to programs that can help lift her out of poverty, go to school, and remain healthy for herself and her family. I look forward to working over the next year to ensure that we are making the investments necessary to help women achieve their potential not only as individuals, but as essential participants in our global community."

Barack's Statement

"The United States must lead the world to end these inequities and injustices, and when I'm President, we will. Every night I'm home, Michelle and I tuck two little girls into bed. And the reason I'm in this race is to help build a world where our Sasha and Malia and every girl is loved and safe from violence; where every woman is empowered; and where every person has the chance to reach for his or her dreams."

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Narrowing the Wage Gap

An interesting (and heartening) story from today's NYT: