Read more from my blog at BarbaraVictor.com
The headlines screamed the news – Osama Bin Laden Is Dead. The electronic media devoted entire days to discussing and dissecting the killing of Bin Laden by a secret American anti-terror force whose sole target had been to capture—dead or alive—the most evil mastermind of terrorism in history. The news of Bin Laden’s death resulted in an outpouring of celebration along with vows of vengeance throughout the world. Horns honking and people cheering at Ground Zero or around the White House made the reaction of any winning country of the World Cup pale by comparison. Crowds in the United States sang the Star Spangled Banner, while demonstrators in Europe and South America simply cheered America by shouting USA! USA! Even President Obama, usually a bit too cool and unemotional in the face of myriad of national and international disasters exclaimed, “The death of Bin Laden marks the most significant achievement to date in our nation’s effort to defeat Al Qaeda…” As for the vows of vengeance, Al Qaeda sympathizers along with much of the Arab world, Asia, and a laundry list of anti-American pro-Muslim organizations, promised retaliation in the form of random killings of Americans and general terrorist strikes that would paralyze the western economy.
To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment. —Ralph Waldo Emerson I had never understood until this weekend’s Woodhull Alumnae Retreat what it meant to be fully present with myself. It amazed me how I could spend a whole weekend being elatedly content to look at the sky, walk the lands, taste the fruits of the earth, watch the hawks circling for their next feast and listen to the playful arias of the birds. At dawn, rays of light peaked mysteriously through the branches. If I stared long enough the faces of time stared right back at me. The quiet wind kissing each branch lovingly until they danced to meet its rhythm. Sometimes clinging tightly to each other. Other times bouncing away from each other’s energy. Here in the woods, the rustle of a single dry leaf along with the crunch of our footsteps seemed as if we were walking with a hundred men instead of four women. Oh to be a tree. My bark rough, strong and dark. My sap sweet, nourishing and inviting. My feet firmly grounded in the earth like the same tangled web of roots that cannot, will not be uprooted. Someday soon. But for now I roam in quiet contemplation of my place amongst God’s magnificent creatures. Patricia Philippe, Woodhull Master Writer’s Class Alumnae
THE WHITE HOUSE Office of the Press Secretary For Immediate Release April 11, 2011 NATIONAL EQUAL PAY DAY, 2011 – - – - – - – BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA A PROCLAMATION Generations of women have fought for the advancement of their sisters, daughters, and themselves in acts of great courage — reaching for and winning the right to vote, breaking barriers in America’s universities and boardrooms, and flooding the modern workforce with skilled talent. While our Nation has come far, obstacles continue to exist for working women, who still earn less on average than working men. Each year, National Equal Pay Day reflects how far into the current year women must work to match what men earned in the previous year. On National Equal Pay Day, we rededicate ourselves to carrying forward the fight for true economic equality for all, regardless of gender. When the Equal Pay Act was signed into law in 1963, women earned 59 cents for every dollar earned by men. Though women today are more likely than men to attend and graduate from college, women still earn an average of only about 77 cents for every dollar a man earns. Even when accounting for factors such as experience, education, industry, and hours, this wage gap persists. Over the course of her lifetime, this gap will cost a woman and her family lost wages, reduced pensions, and diminished Social Security benefits.
An article in the New York Times on Sunday revealed that there is a shortage of one of the three-drug cocktail used in lethal injections for the death penalty. Sodium Thiopental, an anesthetic, manufactured by Hospira, recently announced that it would no longer produce the drug to be used for executions. In Europe, where the drug is also manufactured and used in operating rooms, companies have also refused to export the drug to those countries that use it on inmates to be put to death.
Given the high technology when it comes to anesthetics, there are, of course, alternatives. Pentobarbital is one though it is used infrequently on human beings and rather to euthanize dogs and cats. True, there is little difference in the two drugs that ostensibly put the patient (human or animal) to sleep before the third part of the fatal cocktail is dripped into the vein. Both drugs come from the same family of barbiturates and efficiently depress the nervous system where the victim/patient/animal/human’s brain is put to sleep which results in the victim/patient to forget to breath, or the drug decreases blood pressure where sufficient blood is not pumped to the heart.
Woodhull alum Kristen Kemp teamed with Stacey Lannert to write Stacey’s memoir about coming of age in the parallel universe of the prison system. On July 4, 1990, eighteen-year-old Stacey shot and killed her sexually abusive father who had been hurting her since she was eight. Missouri state law, a disbelieving prosecutor, and Stacey’s own fragile psyche conspired against her: She was found guilty of first-degree murder and sentenced to life without parole.
Little did Stacey know that she would find freedom from behind bars through telling her story and reaching out to others. After 20 years of incarceration, Stacey was granted clemency by Missouri’s governor.
At age 36, she became a free woman in January, 2009. Since then, Stacey has been a guest on Oprah, Joy Behar and NPR. Kristen often tags along doing behind-the-scenes writerly duties.
Geraldine Ferraro, who famously said, “sometimes the best leader is a woman” was not the first female to run for the presidency of the USA. Victoria Woodhull was. But Ferraro, like Woodhull, was a fighter, a woman who clearly saw the obstacles placed before talented, ambitious women and the sexism that made women who sought power laughing stocks in a world run by pompous male pundits and corrupt male politicians.
Victoria Woodhull was nominated for President of the United States by the newly formed Equal Rights Party on May 10, 1872. A year before, she’d announced her intention to run. In 1871, she spoke vehemently against a government composed only of men and proposed a new constitution and a new government that gave women political rights. Her nomination was ratified at the convention on June 6, 1872. Former slave Frederick Douglass was nominated for Vice President.
Woodhull celebrates the life of the first woman who ran for Vice President of the United States of America, Geraldine Ferraro. Here is a collection of the many tributes to her life and legacy:
“She Ended the Men’s Club of National Politics“- New York Times
“Remembering Geraldine Ferraro: A woman of firsts” – NY Daily News
“Congresswoman Made History on National Ticket“- The Wall Street Journal
Originally posted to BarbaraVictor.com on March 6th.
The year was 1986 and Colonel Ghadaffi was smarting from an air attack implemented by the Brits and the Americans. Then, as now, there had been accusations back and forth of Libyan planes invading foreign air space and American planes crossing over into Libyan air space. There were threats of consequences for not respecting no-fly zones, and of course promises of sanctions imposed on Libya for a variety of other reasons. At the time, I was living in Paris and when the United States finally made the decision to bomb Tripoli, the French would not allow our planes to fly over French air space. The situation was polarized from the beginning and destined to be a failure both militarily and eventually politically.
Journalist Barbara Victor reflects on the current situation in Libya and on Qaddafi with KGO Radio News.
Wouldn’t it be wonderful if my previous two Blogs were wrong?
How great would it be if democracy and a sound economic structure, employment, education, job opportunity and all the other good things emerged for the Arab people after their brave and vocal uprisings throughout the Arab world?
Perhaps I did lean toward a doomsday scenario when I wrote that the vacuum created by the overthrow of dictators would result in the religious extremists taking over. Maybe, just maybe, a transition to equality where there is not such a gaping disparity between the rich and greedy in power with the majority who are poor and hopeless, would cancel out a desire for an Islamic Republic. After all, the Koran teaches that this life is merely a preparation for the afterlife. Frankly, if there is little hope for the basic necessities on earth, embracing religion would provide hope after death. But is that really what people want?