Amy Meyer was standing on the street filming a downed cow, still alive, being moved by a tractor in a slaughterhouse, and she has been arrested for it. There is a new spate of laws called “ay-gag” legislation aimed at turing off the cameras that have filmed animal cruelty cases in an attempt to “protect” slaughterhouses from negative publicity. Amy Meyer is the first person targeted by these ag-gag laws.
It’s telling that the owner of the slaughterhouse Amy Meyer filmed happens to be Darrell H. Smith, the town mayor. (Mayor Smith, the meatpacking company, and the local prosecutor did not return phone calls for comment). If that’s shocking to you, it shouldn’t be. In Iowa, for example, the nation’s first ag-gag law was sponsored by Rep. Annette Sweeney, who is the former director of the Iowa Angus Association.
In Utah, the bill’s sponsor, Rep. John Mathis, called undercover investigators “animal rights terrorists” and said video recordings of animal abuse are “propaganda.” In his opening remarks at a legislative hearing on the ag-gag bill, Mathis said: “It’s fun to see my good ag friends in this committee… all my good friends are here.” Ag-gag supporters couldn’t be any more transparent in their financial motivations for censorship.
It was prescient that, as the Utah bill was being considered, the Utah Sentencing Commission warned that it could be used against anyone who merely takes a photograph of a farm or slaughterhouse. At the time, Rep. Greg Hughes of Draper replied: “Who would really pursue that in terms of prosecution?” Now, the first ag-gag prosecution is for precisely that, in his own district.
Somehow people who document animal abuse are “animal rights terrorists” in the big business arena?
It seems that this pits the humane treatment of animals against big business and industry that appears to want to foster animal abuse.
Strange that the meat industry has never spoken out against animal abuse, strange that animal abuse seems almost welcomed, and even stranger that the first target is a woman standing on a street with a camera. Then again, is the filming the issue, or is it the publication? If it occurs on a public street, how is it that slaughterhouses get more protections than human beings? Celebrities have no right to privacy on the street, but now slaughterhouses do? Animal abusers have more rights than other people, namely the right to not have their abuses made public while celebrities have the onus to try to evade photographers without any protections? Why is it that animal abusers have different rights to privacy than entertainers or people working in the public eye?
Meyer was allowed to leave. She later found out she was being prosecuted under the state’s new “ag-gag” law. This is the first prosecution in the country under one of these laws, which are designed to silence undercover investigators who expose animal welfare abuses on factory farms. The legislation is a direct response to a series of shocking investigations by groups like the Humane Society, Mercy for Animals, and Compassion Over Killing that have led to plant closures, public outrage, and criminal charges against workers.
Even the most sweeping ag-gag bills, such as the American Legislative Exchange Council model legislation, don’t explicitly target filming from a roadside. But Nebraska, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, and Vermont are all considering bills similar to the Utah law right now.
Pennsylvania’s bill criminalizes anyone who “records an image of, or sound from, the agricultural operation” or who “uploads, downloads, transfers or otherwise sends” the footage using the Internet.
Here is an excerpt from Change.org, about a petition set up by people who want to see animal abuse reported. I am trying to figure out how to sign it. If any of my readers figure it out, please let me know in comments.
ALEC (American Legislative Exchange Council)
Ron Scheberle, Executive Director
John Eick, Legislative Analyst, Energy, Environment and Agriculture and Civil Justice Task Forces
Bill Meierling, Senior Director, Communications and Public AffairsStop bills that make it a crime to expose animal abuse on factory farms.Consumers have a right to make safe, healthy, and humane decisions about what we buy.
NPR reported on this story here: http://www.onthemedia.org/2013/mar/01/states-consider-so-called-ag-gag-bills/
Lots of people commented on the writing errors, on the spelling errors, but what made this 4th grader’s essay so popular is his take on gay marriage. Leave it to the clarity of a child to make adults see some sense. This essay also points to a growing and changing social structure willing to embrace gay marriage because it is seen as something that moves out of the public moral standard and toward more of a privacy issue, that two adults can get married without the interference of the general public’s input:
Why gay people should be able to get married is you can’t stop two adult’s from getting married because there grown and it doesn’t matter if it creeps you out just get over it. And you should be happy for them because it’s a big momment in their life. When I went to my grandparents wedding it was the happies momment.
As you can see gay people should have the right to get married and you shouldn’t judge other peoples lives because if you was gay you wouldn’t want people talking about you.
Yahoo’s article points out that this was originally published by the student’s teacher to show how far the student had come in distilling his argument, and what a stellar argument it is.
The other latest handwritten missive providing support to gay marriage is from the father of a son who was trying to figure out how to tell his parents he is gay.
The complete and total love from this father is an amazing testament to how powerful and generous we humans can be, even in these times of intolerance, to show that it is possible, that even children have this ability, just like the father, to show love and compassion to all people. Note that the child makes the argument that people who are gay should be treated like someone else would want to be treated, that people shouldn’t live in judgment.
Truer words were never spoken, and even with the spelling errors, that writing teacher deserves an A+, and so does his student.
Isabelle Caro admitted that she was very sick with anorexia, and she wanted other people to know how devastating the disease really is. She posed nude for a photograph before she died to show other people how dangerous anorexia is.
Ms. Caro died when she was 28, abut she wanted the world to know about her disease:
There is a new ad campaign speaking out against anorexia, profiled by Huffington Post
The tagline: “You are not a sketch. Say no to anorexia” is meant to be meaningful, but it doesn’t speak to me that way, because it’s pointless to blame the models for the standards set by the industry. Why is this somehow a woman’s fault, again? Why isn’t there any kind of action taken, sanction, for fashion designers using anorexic models in their shows, in their advertising? With these ads, the woman is still being attacked for what she is or isn’t as opposed to the industry for asking her to be that way in order to get work. I still think it’s sick, but it’s not the woman’s fault here.
Someone, somewhere said enough with the bullshit and measured men’s responses to women’s emotive facial expressions, and guess what they found? They found men who struggled to understand women’s emotions by the women’s facial expressions. According to a Huff Post article, calling this out, “one of the most pervasive clichés — that men are incapable of understanding women — now has some scientific evidence to back it up
A German study published online April 10th in the journal PLOS found that men do indeed have difficulty understanding how women feel — at least from looking their eyes. The researchers, led by Boris Schiffer of the LWL-University Hospital in Bochum, Germany, put 22 men between the ages of 21 and 52 in a functional magnetic resonance imaging scanner (fMRI), which uses blood flow as a measure of brain activity. The men were shown images of 36 pairs of eyes — half belonging to men and half belonging to women — and asked to choose which of two given emotions the person was feeling. An interpretation of a person’s emotions based only on a closeup of their eyes is called a “Reading the Mind in the Eyes Test.”
The researchers found that it was twice as difficult for the men to accurately guess what the women were feeling as it was for them to guess what the men were feeling. They also took longer attempting to interpret the women’s eyes.
Who is surprised by this? While the photo shown above isn’t representative of the study’s data, it does show how an fMRI scan could be interpreted, by looking at the dots of color that light up when the brain begins to process information. Since the basis of the study, that it took twice as long to interpret results, was based on timing not the brain Lite-Brite machine, it’s difficult to determine why an fMRI scanner was used, but perhaps this adds validity when people can see pictures of the brain. Might be a little short on the science here to use an fMRI when timing seems the goal, but it’s interesting nonetheless.
While I am perfectly fine with gleaning information from a timed test, that it took men twice as long to perform a task that women do more efficiently, say, reading emotions, the “science” such as it were, takes a marvelously weird and un-called for turn into caveman style shortly after the initial spot of brilliance. Here is where the fMRI bit mucks things up, because not knowing what to do with visual representations of brain functioning, the “researchers” start making assumptions. You know what assumptions do with the ass out of u and me bit, and here go the researchers ass-forward in grand style, because now that they have an image, they must comment, regardless of how stupid they sound, no edit here.
The fMRI showed that the amygdala – a part of the brain that helps process emotions — was activated more intensely when the men looked at the eyes of other men than when they looked at the eyes of women.
The cause of this discrepancy is unclear, [MY NOTE HERE: When the cause is unclear, "scientists" shouldn't speculate, because here comes a whopper of a tall tale....]though the researchers write in the paper that perhaps evolutionary imperatives made it more important for men to understand other men than to understand women. “As men were more involved in hunting and territory fights, it would have been important for them to be able to predict and foresee the intentions and actions of their male rivals.”
Cavemen are responsible for men’s problems with women, it seems, because now cavemen supposedly didn’t think women were important either. How weird is that? We can now determine what cavemen thought of women by looking at men who took twice as long to examine women’s eyes. Rational, just and valid sort of scientific finding, don’t you think, with sophisticated brain imaging techniques. There you go, put a brain in a scanner with technological advances and blame everything on cavemen anyway. The only thing that seems true now is that men sure can’t escape their pasts.
Hmm, apparently we don’t need to be called women, according to Peter Hansen; we can just be called “vaginas.” And even though he has since come out and apologized for using the term “vagina” to indicate all women, he only did so after the e-mail he sent out was publicized:
A New Hampshire state representative apologized on Wednesday for using “vagina” as a synonym for “woman” in a mass email to lawmakers as part of a gun-law debate.
Representative Peter Hansen was responding to fellow Republican Representative Steve Vaillancourt, who had urged repeal of the state’s Stand Your Ground law. The 2011 law allows use of deadly force even if people could safely retreat from a threatening situation.
“What could possibly be missing from those factual tales of successful retreat in VT (Vermont), Germany and the bowels of Amsterdam,” Hansen wrote in an email to the 400-member House of Representatives in response to a speech by Vaillancourt.
“Why children and vagina’s (sic) of course. While the tales relate the actions of a solitary male the outcome cannot relate to similar situations where children and women and mothers are the potential victims.”
The April 1 email drew widespread condemnation from both Democrats and Republicans after it was republished on Monday on a state political blog called Susan the Bruce.
So, then he claims he is sorry for using “stupid” language and another representative says that most of the time we call women “women,” as opposed to vaginas?
Hansen, who initially defended the email, issued a full apology on Wednesday.
“I want to apologize to my constituents, my colleagues and women, especially those in my life, for the blatantly offensive, insensitive and, frankly, stupid language I used in my email with House members regarding the Stand Your Ground legislation,” Hansen wrote in an emailed statement.
“I am embarrassed, to say the least. There is no place or need in the public discourse for the words I used. The people and the process deserve better than that.”
The Democrat-controlled House voted to repeal Stand Your Ground on March 27. The bill faces an uncertain future in the state’s Republican-controlled Senate.
Hansen’s comments especially stand out in New Hampshire, which has a female governor and an all-female delegation to Congress. The House speaker and chief justice of the Supreme Court are also women.
“It just seemed outrageous because it was going out to all 400 representatives,” said Democratic Representative Rick Watrous. “Usually we use the term ‘women’ when we’re talking about women.”
Why is no one on record, besides other women, saying this guy is just an asshole? Why is it only a problem to call women vaginas when only men are around, or if you are sending such a to any person, much less 400? Why do the numbers make a difference?
I can’t tell what makes me more sick, the fact that this guy who has just been awarded my Asshole of the Week Award has called women by their anatomy, but that the other guy, Rick Watrous says it’s a problem because the women saw it. So, I kept reading, seeing if Rick Watrous really sounds like the second asshole in this equation, but he doesn’t, according to another source:
“Are you really using ‘vaginas’ as a crude catch-all for women? Really?” wrote back State Rep. Rick Watrous, a Democrat. “Please think before you send out such offensive language on the legislative listserve.”
Oh, um, wait, not “think before you use offensive language,” but “think before you send out such offensive language on the listserve”?? Of course, because to use this language itself in reference to women is appropriate, just not on the listserve. Gee, thanks, Rick. What an asshole; yep, still think so.
At first, this stellar man Hansen, didn’t actually apologize for his remarks. He defended them.
Having a fairly well educated mind I do not need self appointed wardens to A: try to put words in my mouth for political gain and B: Turn a well founded strategy in communication into an insulting accusation, and finally if you find the noun vagina insulting or in some way offensive then perhaps a better exercise might be for you to re-examine your psyche.
Consider my psyche examined, as it was a self-examination after all, but then, I still find that objectifying women by their anatomy offensive, so now what?
In his second attempt at “apologizing,” this was the result:
Speaking yesterday, Hansen claimed he was attempting to “get into the mind of the perpetrator,” and that the entire thing “has been totally blown out of proportion.” In signature non-apology fashion he also apologized “to those who took offense.”
(This from the article linked above, which was a bit earlier than the 3rd apology posted above, and this is from The Gawker. Yahoo didn’t have the guts to publish this.)
Guess we vaginas are just not happy with you penises. Hmm, is “bitch” the next term that comes to mind?
In the worst sort of gag joke ever, the Federal Supreme Court of the United States is
hearing the gay marriage arguments in a case pitting moral quandries with equal protection statutes, and claiming this is different from racial tensions. I can’t begin to describe how disgusting it is to me to be forced to listen to some fat old white male hacks lecture on the moral propriety of heterosexual marriage as though they are preachers on a pulpit. What happened to the separation of church and state? How is a discussion on “God’s purpose” for marriage, allegedly to procreate, a state matter? Whether marriage is damaged or not, what gives a federal agency liberty to enforce moral code?
And now the very private domain, heretofore protected by our right to privacy in our own homes (see Romer v. Evans or Griswold v. Connecticut), such as which type of person raises a child, with discrepancies made by gender, marital or sexual arrangement are now the moral fodder for the Federal Supreme Court of the United States? The Federal Supreme Court is somehow in the position to determine what is the best atmosphere in which to raise a child?
On the broader question of same-sex marriage, pressed by attorney Theodore Olson on behalf of two California same-sex couples, some conservative justices raised concerns about a lack of scientific data on same-sex couples raising children.
Justice Antonin Scalia said there is “considerable disagreement” about whether gays and lesbians should be able to raise children.
Kennedy agreed that there is “substance to the point that sociological information is new.”
On the liberal wing, justices probed Cooper on his assertion that the government’s interest in promoting procreation is a primary reason for limiting the definition of marriage.
Cooper said that expanding marriage “could well lead, over time, to harms” to the institution of marriage.
Newness of the concept of gay marriage or not, Scalia’s introduction on the propriety or newness of child rearing arrangements as a State issue based on the sexuality of the parents is a new low for the interference of the court in a matter strictly related to the personal domain of one’s home. Gay couples already raise children–that’s not at issue for the Federal Supreme Court of the United States to decide. If the argument presented is how a couple raises children, based on their sexual orientation alone, then the argument has moved away from awarding federal marriage benefits to gay couples and into a realm forbidden to the Federal Supreme Court, even in its grandiose visions of self grandeur, whether or not a person’s sexual orientation makes them suitable to parent a child. The Federal Supreme Court of the United States is by no means allowed to determine who can procreate in this country based on sexual orientation, any more than it was called upon to determine the parenting abilities of a person based on sexual orientation–this is a forbidden zone, an abuse of power on the part of the Federal Supreme Court of the United States.
Since when is the Federal Supreme Court of the United States moonlighting as a parental advice syndicate? What gives the Federal Supreme Court of the United States the right to set parenting rules for the entire country? Just because Alito says gay parenting is new, to which I would argue that it’s not new, that he is simply old and out of touch so has not recognized homosexual behavior as far back as recorded human data exists, doesn’t mean that parenting values are the proper realm of the Federal Supreme Court of the United States to decide:
In a similar vein, Justice Samuel Alito also urged caution, noting that gay marriage, as a concept, is “newer than cellphones and the Internet.”
Regardless of how new Alito believes parenting is, one would have to argue that parenting itself is as old as human civilization and since we have no notion of how parenting emerged to its present status besides inference, then to state that this is new is a flawed argument. To state that a parenting style is something to be determined as valid in the Federal Supreme Court is disgusting. Really, now the Supreme Court has become What to Expect When You Have a Toddler offering parenting advice similar to children’s books like: “I Have Two Mommies” or two daddies, or whatever else is out there?
Craziness. Abuse of power, and moral judgments don’t become them, so why are we becoming a country ruled by a moral majority rather than the legality of denying rights to a class of people?
Much ado has been made of this marathon man’s age: he’s 101 years old. He has been running marathons since he was 89 years old and watched his wife and 5th son die in a tragic accident near his home. To deal with his grief, Fauja Singh began running, and he kept at it, retiring from marathons only in the last year.
Some people may wonder what sort of social change, or any change, really, an old man can effect. How many men at 101 years of age are impacting only those in a nursing home? Actually, the men I’ve known about who made it past 100 were cared for by family members, and living that long in a nursing home is rare. Still, though, as we age, we all begin to wonder how much change we can provide in this world, and most of us want to change it for good. While we may wonder what about the human race pushes us to want to change the world for the better, to make this world a better place, we may more rightly consider: what can one do at such an advanced age to make the world a better place? For Mr. Fauja Singh, the anser is: to run a marathon.
News outlets have made much ado about Mr. Singh’s retirement from the marathon community in the last year, but they have been less vocal in their promotion of Mr. Fauja Singh’s activist role, that of running to support women’s rights. Mr. Singh had been greatly disturbed at the violence against women he had seen lately, and so he ran a marathon, alongside others much past the octogenarian stride, to make a statement about the rights of women:
In their interaction, Mr. Singh and Maan Kaur said that they had decided to participate in this unique event to express their concern on the recent rise in incidence of crime against women, which brought shame to India in the world comity. Maan Kaur was of the opinion that promotion of sports meant “developing healthy minds in healthy bodies”.
Mr. Fauja Singh in his message appealed to the people to rationalise their needs. “Though we all need money to survive, but it is not necessary to be greedy. Ohi sunno jo samajh aa javey, te ohi khao jo hajum ho javey (Listen that only what you can relate to and eat only what can be digested)” he said touching his turban that it was once an accepted fact that blessed by the Gurus, a Sikh would always stand in defence of women. While history was repeat with examples who Sikhs defended women of other faiths too, he said, “I am pained to listen that my daughters, grand daughters and great grand daughters are no longer safe.”
The organiser of the event Ms. Jagjit Kaur who is managing director of the Rozana Spokesman said that unless they were genuinely empowered in all walks of life, women would remain at the receiving end. She advocated the need for role fluidity, change in public perception and constant prodding towards bringing a social change. She quoted her own example that despite having run a media house and being an educationist, the society still resisted accepting her distinct identity.
Her husband, Joginder Singh Sawhney who is the Editor of the paper said that mere legislations would not help unless they were supported the necessary social change. He said that it was disturbing that despite the awareness which was associated with the resentment to the Delhi gang rape incident, crimes against women continued to rise. He said that “Mini Marathon” was aimed at associating non-controversial icons of the public, towards this unique campaign launched by the publication.
Mr. Singh is one in a million, literally, but I wish there were a million more men like him.