The Most Influencial People of 2011

So Times came out with their list of the most influencial people of 2011. Now there are several people on the list that are very worthy of this title. However, there are several people on the list that I just have no understanding of how they got there. With that said…I’m only going to mention one. JUSTIN BEIBER!!!! How did he make the list? There is no way he is deserving of the title “Most influencial person”. I just don’t get it.

Police Officer Punches 17-year-old girl

I found THIS ARTICLE at komonews.com. I’ve copied and pasted the article below with the video of the incident. I’m shocked by this whole. I can’t believe this is all because they were jay walking!

“SEATTLE — Seattle police are investigating what they call an assault of an officer in South Seattle.
However, a police officer is seen punching a 17-year-old girl in the face during the incident captured by a video camera on Monday.

According to Seattle police, the incident began when an officer spotted a man jaywalking in the 3100 block of Martin Luther King, Jr. Way S. at approximately 3:10 p.m. The man was some 15 feet away from a pedestrian overpass, police said.

The officer was talking to the man when he saw four young women jaywalk across the same street at the same spot. The officer asked the women to step over to his patrol car, but the women were being “verbally antagonistic toward the officer,” according to officials.

One of the women, later identified as a 19 year old, began to walk away from the scene despite the officer’s instructions, prompting the officer to walk over to her and escort her back to his patrol car.

The girl then “began to tense up her arm, and pull away from the officer while yelling at him,” investigators said. The officer told the girl to place her hands on his patrol car, but she refused. When the officer tried to grab hold of her, “she pulled away and twisted, breaking free of the officer’s grip several times,” the blotter report said.

When the officer tried to handcuff the girl, another girl, this one 17 years old, intervened and placed her hands on the officer’s arm, “causing the officer to believe she was attempting to physically affect the first subject’s escape,” police said.

The officer pushed back the second girl, but the girl came back at him. The officer then punched her, police said.

The officer then handcuffed the 19-year-old woman. Other officers arrived and helped handcuff the second girl.

Both teens were cited for jaywalking. The older suspect was booked into the King County Jail for investigation of obstructing an officer. The 17-year-old girl was booked into the Youth Service Center for investigation of assault of an officer.

Nobody was injured during the incident, police said.

Seattle police have not reviewed the video of the incident. Sgt. Sean Whitcomb said investigators may review the video on Tuesday.

Whitcomb said the officer involved in the incident sent out a call for help, prompting other officers to rush to his aid.

All use of force on the job is reviewed, Whitcomb said, as use of force is under the officer’s discretion. He added that punching is a trained tactic.

“There will be a thorough investigation into this incident,” he said.”

By Micah Posted in News

The Next Step in Gender Equality

I found THIS ARTICLE yesterday in the New York Times and it’s a great article. It’s a little long, but I encourage everyone to read the whole thing. It talks about the increasing number of men taking parental leave in Sweden (it has reached up to 85%).Picture taken from the New York Times article.

In Swedan the law gives a 13-month paid parental leave and 2 months of that is given exclusively for fathers. The article talks more about the law and describes other countries with similar types of parental laws.

What’s great about this is that it is a huge step forward in gender equality. “The only way to achieve equality in society is to achieve equality in the home. Getting fathers to share the parental leave is an essential part of that.” Often times feminists are fighting for women to have the same rights as men. A perfect example of this is in the workplace. People have been fighting for women to have the same chances and rights to jobs and having equal pay. Now this is very important and this fight is certainly not over but we all have to admit that this issue has made huge strides and is better.

I believe the next step is making sure men have the same rights as women without being looked down upon. In this instance I’m talking about men being able to stay home and take care of their children. This, is not having to fight for men being able to stay home. Men can do that without any fighting (with the exception that paternal leave is not as generous in America). The issue is, men are looked down upon when they take the role of the “woman”. (OR you will have the other problem: Men are seen as heroes and are praised when they help around the house and women are given no such recognition.)

I started thinking about this issue when I was in undergrad and we did a production of Bertolt Brecht’s, “Galileo”. Our director wanted to do a gender neutral production of it. However, it seemed that “gender neutral” meant women being able to play the male roles. (Of course part of the issue with that play is that there is only one female role and that school has a 3 to 1, female to male ratio). BUT…as I think about it, I have never seen a gender neutral play where men play women…it’s always just women playing men. The reason is because being a women is still considered to be lesser and men are not comfortable with it. When men play women it is humorous.

I believe it is men who need to be at the fore front of this issue. Men need to be asking for the same rights to stay at home and that nobody looks down upon them when they do that. It is already expected for mothers to stay at home when they have a newborn…that same expectation should be of the fathers. We should be striving for a parental leave…not the maternal/paternal leave. How does this happen? Men need to want it as much as women do.

We’ve already proven that women can do what men do. What needs to happen now is that we prove men can do what women do. AND we won’t have true gender equality until I am unable write sentences like that. People should be able to do what people do.

Can Arizona get any worse?

So Arizona is certainly not my favorite state right and today I discovered another reason to dislike that state. This article came out a couple of days ago at azcentral.com. Some artists painted an environmental mural and they were asked by the principal to lighten the skin of the hispanic and black children in the painting. “R.E. Wall, director of Prescott’s Downtown Mural project, said he and other artists were subjected to slurs from motorists as they worked on the painting at one of the town’s most prominent intersections. ‘We consistently , for two months, had people shouting racial slander from their cars,’ Wall said. ‘We had children painting with us, and here come these yells of (ephithet for Blacks) and (epithet for Hispanics).'” Apparently the principal asked Wall to make “the children’s faces appear happier and brighter”. Wall eventually conceded to all of this and lightened the skin tone of the children in the painting.

What really puzzles me is that Wall says, “We were looking at it from an artistic view. Nothing at all to do with race.” He wanted it “to look like the children are coming into light.” Even though I think he shouldn’t have changed the painting, I understand why he would (especially with all the children helping with the painting having to hear all the comments)…but what pisses me off is that he says it has nothing to do with race. HELLO!! It has everything to do with race and saying that it doesn’t is just as bad as anything anyone else did to cause this problem.

I just don’t understand. What is wrong with people?

Why I like Social Networks.

This past week has been a real eye opener about how important social networking has become to our society. Sure, they’re great for keeping in touch with people and letting everyone know what you’re up too…but that’s not the main reason they are so important. The main story in the news and media for a little over a week has been over the controversial Iranian election and the protests that are going on currently. The Iranian government has made it extremely difficult for any foreign media to get first hand knowledge of what is going on. I watch CNN mostly, and they have constantly been talking about how hard it has been for their journalist to get any real idea about what is going on over there.

One of the main sources of research for the media has been social networking sites…primarily Facebook and twitter. On CNN I saw them actually show a Facebook page of where they were getting some of their information. Because of twitter, they are able to know what the Iranian people are twittering about and what they are experiencing during this time. It was because of YouTube, that we were able to see the shooting of the girl “Neda”. Social networks have made it so easy to get news as it is happening, instead of after the fact.

I don’t own a TV, and so my main way of seeing what’s on the news is through my news podcasts. However, I now follow CNN on twitter and they regularly update about any breaking news. I was able to find out about the Washington Metro Crash just shortly after it happened. Also, twitter has a side bar called “trendy topics” where it shows what a lot of people on twitter are twittering about. This can be a great way to see what a lot of people in the word are dealing with right now.

My sister in law just joined Facebook for the first time…and I’m so proud of her :). I don’t understand why some people are so reluctant to join any of the social networking sites. This is such a huge part of our culture. It seems to be the best way to know what’s going on with those close to you and the world.

A Brave Woman

I just thought this was an amazing story. I found this on cnn.com.

Embedded video from CNN Video

LONDON, England (CNN) — Hope was 14 years old when her uncle raped her.

Betty Makoni founded the Girl Child Network to help Zimbabwe’s young sexual abuse victims.

“He trapped me to the ground and covered my mouth with his hand,” said the 18-year-old from Zimbabwe. “He threatened to kill me if I ever told anybody.”

So, she kept quiet.

“After a while people around the villages started saying that I looked pregnant,” she said.

Hope was not only pregnant, but her uncle had infected her with HIV.

Like many young girls in Zimbabwe, Hope was the victim of a widely held belief that if a man with HIV or AIDS rapes a virgin he will be cured of his disease. This so-called virgin myth, perpetuated by Zimbabwe’s traditional healers, has led to the rape of hundreds of girls, according to UNICEF. Some of those victims are too young to walk, much less protect themselves.

Betty Makoni has fought for nearly a decade to protect her country’s young girls from sexual abuse. And she’s witnessed some of the worst cases of the myth in action.

“The youngest girl I ever came across was a day-old baby who was raped,” said Makoni, 37.

Through her Girl Child Network (GCN), Makoni has helped rescue 35,000 girls from abuse — including Hope; thousands more have found an empowering community and a public forum in which to speak out.

“Ten girls per day report rape cases,” she said. “It means if we keep quiet, at least 3,600 girls per year may just be contracting HIV and AIDS.”

Makoni’s own tragic experiences fuel her fierce determination.

“She said, ‘Shh, we don’t say that in public,’ ” Makoni remembered. “I had no shoulder to cry on.”

Three years later, she witnessed her father murder her mother. In that moment, Makoni said she realized the potentially deadly consequence of a woman’s silence.

“I told myself that no girl or woman will suffer the same again,” she said.

Believing an education would provide her the best opportunity and means to speak out, Makoni earned two university degrees and became a teacher. While teaching, she noticed that girls were dropping out of school at an alarming rate. She approached her students with an idea.

“I [said] to girls, ‘Let’s have our own space where we talk and find solutions,’ ” Makoni said. Girl Child Network was born. Watch Makoni help young girls find safety and empowerment in Zimbabwe »

By the end of the first year, there were 100 GCN clubs throughout Zimbabwe where girls could find support. Makoni said she was not surprised: “Every woman and girl identified with the issues that we were raising,” she said.

In 2000, she quit her teaching job to volunteer with GCN full time. “I decided to become an advocate because I walked my own journey to survival,” she said.

The following year Makoni successfully procured a piece of land and opened the organization’s first empowerment village, designed to provide a haven for girls who have been abused. Girls are either rescued or referred to the village by social services, the police and the community. The healing begins as soon as a girl arrives.

“In the first 72 hours, a girl is provided with emergency medication, reinstatement in school, as well as counseling,” said Makoni.

It is important to her that the girls are in charge of their own healing. “It gives them the confidence to transform from victims to leaders,” she explained.

The process helped Hope work through the times when she said “I thought my life had come to end.”

“They offered all they could … as I was in a traumatized state,” she said. “I really appreciate what [Betty Makoni] has done and is doing in my life.”

Today, GCN has grown to 700 girls’ clubs and three empowerment villages across Zimbabwe. An estimated 300,000 girls have received assistance.

For those who were at greatest risk, Makoni believes that help was especially critical. “If my organization didn’t exist, the 35,000 girls I’ve saved from rape and abuse could have died by now,” she said.

But for Makoni, speaking out came with a high personal cost. In 2008, she was forced to flee her native country. “I left Zimbabwe because my life was in danger as a result of my project being interpreted politically.” Watch Makoni describe her reasons for leaving her homeland »

Today, she lives with her family in the United Kingdom. She still serves as executive director of her organization and shows no signs of slowing down.

GCN has partnered with the DOVE project, a group based in Essex, England, that deals with domestic violence.

“We are now bringing the girls from a local community to the international scene,” she said.

Her efforts in Zimbabwe will also be highlighted in an upcoming documentary, Tapestries of Hope.

Makoni says nothing will end her fight for the rights of women and girls. “This is the job I have always wanted to do, because it gives me fulfillment. And in girls I see myself every day.”

Want to get involved? Check out the Girl Child Network and see how to help

Evil for Evil

Now I don’t want to say that I think abortion evil or wrong or anything…but I realize many people do. However, what purpose are you trying to serve when you get rid of something you think is wrong by commiting an act that is also wrong? This is the article from the New York times about the Abortion doctor who was shot earlier this morning.

Doctor Who Performed Abortions Is Shot to Death
By MONICA DAVEY and JOE STUMPE
Published: May 31, 2009

George Tiller, a Wichita doctor who was one of the few doctors in the nation to perform late-term abortions, was shot to death on Sunday as he attended church, city officials in Wichita said.

Dr. George Tiller, one of the nation’s few late-term-abortion providers, was killed Sunday in church.
Dr. Tiller, who had performed abortions since the 1970s, had long been a lightning rod for controversy over the issue of abortion, particularly in Kansas, where abortion opponents regularly protested outside his clinic and sometimes his home and church. In 1993, he was shot in both arms by an abortion opponent but recovered.

He had also been the subject of many efforts at prosecution, including a citizen-initiated grand jury investigation. In the latest such effort, in March, Dr. Tiller was acquitted of charges that he had performed late-term abortions that violated state law.

The shooting occurred at around 10 a.m. (Central time) at Reformation Lutheran Church on the city’s East Side, Dr. Tiller’s regular church.

Wichita police said that the shots were fired from a handgun in the church lobby during the morning service. The authorities gave few details, but said they were searching for a powder blue Taurus made in the 1990s that had been seen leaving shortly after the shooting. They said witnesses had described seeing a white man departing.

“This is going to be a larger search than maybe just Wichita,” said Brent Allred, a police captain, who said that the FBI and state police had been called to the scene. By noon, few parishioners remained at the church, a modern, red brick facility that seats about 500 people. Police cars surrounded the building.

By Micah Posted in News Tagged