Late Night Open Thread: We’ve Made Progress, Despite Everything

There’s been lots of change for the better just in my lifetime — too much for the Angry White Men fronting the Republican party right now.

I keep reminding myself, our job is to resist going backward, so that the rising generation will never have to be grateful for a world where the N-word is considered more socially toxic than the F-word, and phrases like ‘sexual harassment’ or ‘domestic violence’ aren’t odd jargon beyond the understanding of all but a few ivory-tower academics…



Tuesday Morning Open Thread: Snow (Job) Day?

Not sure how much of DC will be shut down, so this next may or may not be postponed:

Here in the Boston exurbs, the weatherpersons are predicting somewhere between a foot and two feet of snow; I’m selfishly hoping the snow/sleet line doesn’t get this far north, because I’d rather move two feet of dry fluffy stuff than ten inches of frozen sludge…

Apart from March Snowmaggedon Madness (and you Left Coasters rolling your eyes), what’s on the agenda for the day?


 

And finally, happy news for us Washington Post subscribers — the Mad Bitcher is taking his talents elsewhere:



Monday Morning Open Thread: People Power

Probably a more viable alternative, at the present moment:

CORAL GABLES, Fla. — It had all the trappings of a campaign rally: the signs, the Bruce Springsteen songs on repeat, the clipboard-hugging volunteers in matching T-shirts.

But the 2,000-odd people in the University of Miami’s basketball arena were there to hear Anthony Romero, the executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union, try to recruit them into a legal army.

“It didn’t take a lot of work to fill this auditorium,” Romero said, as the screens surrounding him showed mass protests against President Trump. “People want to be deployed. They don’t just want to write you a check, or sign a petition. They want to be engaged. You want to be protagonists with us.”

The ACLU is spending millions of dollars on a plunge into grass-roots politics — a “People Power” campaign. It’s the newest and largest development from a sprawling “resistance” movement that regularly moves faster than the Democratic Party’s leaders can think and isn’t waiting on politicians for cues…

“We’ve seen this exponential growth in people becoming card-carrying members of the ACLU,” Romero said in an interview after his speech. “They’re younger. They’re in every state around the country. The biggest danger was in not doing something like this, where people get apathetic and they fall asleep.”

There’s little apparent risk of that, and the biggest organizations on the left, broadly defined, are staffing up to give it direction. The Center for American Progress is planning a grass-roots conference for “rising” activist groups in California next month, and an ideas conference in Washington one month later. Super PACs such as American Priorities have become promotion machines for the Indivisible movement, which in just a few months has begun to organize some local chapters as official nonprofit groups.

But no organization is transforming as quickly or as boldly as the ACLU. Since the 2016 election, it has tripled its membership to more than 1.2 million and raised more than $80 million, with plans to add 100 staff members to a team of about 300…

Here’s the ACLU website’s update. You can watch a recording of the whole session here.

More, from the Christian Science Monitor:

The event marked a distinct strategic shift for the civil liberties group, which has traditionally focused on courtroom litigation. The ACLU’s new campaign, PeoplePower, is the organization’s first grassroots mobilization effort in its nearly 100 years of existence, leaders say, driven by a recent surge in membership and widespread activism efforts across the country in the months since President Trump’s election victory. Since November, group membership has tripled to more than one million, with more than 135,000 people signed up to take part in the PeoplePower campaign as of Saturday.

“Before, our membership was largely older and much smaller,” ACLU executive director Anthony Romero told Reuters. “Our members would provide us with money so we could file the cases and do the advocacy. What’s clear with the Trump election is that our new members are engaged and want to be deployed.”…

Speaking at the event on Saturday, Mr. Romero said priority issues for the campaign are immigration, free speech and religious freedom rights, civil and reproductive rights, and LGBT rights.

“We will bring all the lawsuits necessary to defend these rights,” he said, as reported by the Associated Press. “We’ll do the work in the courts. You do the work in the streets. People are motivated. They want to be engaged.”

The Resistance Training coincided with the ACLU’s launch of a new grassroots online organizing platform, PeoplePower.org, a tool to help people planning a local protest or rally connect and coordinate with others around the country. The site will also provide details of ACLU initiatives…

Apart from staffing The Resistance, what’s on the agenda as we start another week?



Late Night Open Thread: Every Day Is Women’s Day


(Imperator Furiosa)



Open Thread: International Women’s Day

Much the same as the charging bull, the little bronze girl by artist Kristen Visbal was put up in the wee hours of the morning as “guerilla art,” McNally said. But, unlike the bull, the firm discussed it with the city beforehand so that it could remain at least temporarily.

“We’re actively pursuing that it stays for a month,” she said. “If the city decides that it should stay in perpetuity, we’re absolutely on board with that.”

At the Washington Post, “Five women changing their world for the better“:

The theme of this year’s International Women’s Day, a holiday now more than a century old, is “Be Bold For Change.” It’s a message intended to push people toward concrete action on gender equality. Here are the stories of five women from around the world who are doing just that in their communities.

England: ‘You either just give up, or you think, ‘one life at a time’
Sarah Fane is an optimist, a smile never far from her lips. Ask her about educating girls in Afghanistan, a nation where the literacy rate for women is among the worst in the world, and she beams…

India: ‘Why am I tolerating it?’
Vimla lost her father when she was 14. A year later, she was married to a man 16 years older than her. He began beating her on the first night of their marriage… After years of abuse, Vimla, 64, who goes by just her first name, asked herself, “Why am I tolerating it?”

She started attending a workshop held for women and eventually began working in the slums… She started the Women Progress Council to educate women across 12 slum colonies in Delhi about domestic violence, health and their rights. “Once they get support, it gives them confidence,” Vimla said. “They understand the unfairness and then they stand up for themselves.”…

Russia: ‘Everyone has a story’
Women facing the threat of domestic abuse or sexual assault often don’t have free use of their hands, are under immense strain, and may not be able to access their telephone to call for help. Kathy Romanovskaya, 42, a co-founder at the Russian startup Nimb, says her company’s product has those women in mind. It’s fashionable ring that doubles as a panic button, allowing the wearer to discreetly send a distress signal to a support circle, including friends, parents or the police…

China: ‘Women around the whole world should unite’
It was March 2015, two days before International Women’s Day, and Wei Tingting was preparing to mark the occasion. She and a small group of friends wanted to raise awareness about sexual harassment on public transportation. They planned to hand out stickers on the bus — but they never got the chance.

Instead, Wei and four other women were taken to a detention center on the outskirts of Beijing and held for 37 days. They were interrogated again and again about their plans to organize for LGBT and women’s rights.

The Chinese government’s campaign of intimidation did not work. Word of their arrest spread quickly and spurred global campaigns to #freethefive, turning them into feminist heroes. Two years later, Wei is still working for gender equality as the founder of the nonprofit Guangzhou Gender Education Center. She is also preparing a report on sexual harassment….

Egypt: ‘Now, it’s a critical time for Muslim artists’
Deena Mohamed is not your typical 22-year-old, and neither is her creation: Qahera, a Muslim web-comic superheroine who wears a hijab, or headscarf, wields a sword and can fly. Her mission, in part, is to help women who face sexual harassment…



A Day Without Women?

If I were a True Progressive(tm), I probably wouldn’t be writing this (although, in my defense, for me it’s the end of Tuesday rather than the beginning of Wednesday). Yes, I enjoy putting these posts together — since it’s unpaid labor, Cole could hardly fire me for noncompliance — but it does qualify as work, some days more than others.

Jia Tolentino, in the New Yorker, on “The Women’s Strike and the Messy Space of Change”:

T[oday] is the Women’s Strike, the fourth of ten actions that have been called for by the organizers of the Women’s March on Washington. The strike was planned to coincide with International Women’s Day, and the march organizers, in tandem with a team organizing protests in forty countries around the world, have asked women to take whatever form of action their lives allow for. Take the day off from “paid and unpaid labor,” including housework and child care, if you can, or avoid shopping at corporate or male-owned businesses, or simply wear red in solidarity. There will be rallies in at least fifty cities around the United States.

Comparisons between the strike and the post-Inauguration march—now estimated to be the largest political demonstration in U.S. history—are inevitable, and likely to be unfavorable to the strikers. The decline in unionization has insured that most American workers are unfamiliar with striking and what it entails. And it is, of course, much harder to strike on a weekday than to protest on a Saturday. It is also more difficult to facilitate, measure, and publicize absence than it is to celebrate presence, the way one does at a march. When tens of thousands of immigrants went on strike on February 16th, they did attract some favorable public attention—as well as employer retribution—but a general strike the next day, and a tech-industry strike one week later, escaped public notice almost completely…

From the Washington Post, “The expensive problem with the ‘Day Without a Woman’”:

Rosie Molina, who works at a District restaurant for $7.50 an hour, woke early to march on the Mall in January. Then she rushed downtown for an afternoon shift. Molina was proud to have briefly joined the movement — her cause is immigrant rights — but she cannot afford to take part in Wednesday’s strike, which would cost her about $60. That’s two weeks of groceries.

“I’m a single mother,” Molina said. “I don’t have the luxury. The last time I took a day off, my paycheck was very low.”

Taria Vines, 44, who makes about $350 each week as a caterer in the Bronx, decided to take the day off to march Wednesday in the nation’s capital with some friends. Vines figures she’ll lose a chunk of pay — probably enough to cover her cellphone bill — but she still wanted to take a stand against sexual harassment and discrimination.

“It’s costing me money to do this,” she said, “but if I don’t fight for what’s right for me, who will?”…
Read more



Sunday Morning Open Thread: Profiles


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What’s on the agenda as we prepare for another week?

Not quite up to the standards of the last First Lady, but then…

And speaking of fierce woman warriors…