Friday, 10 August 2012

The Importance of the Violence Against Women Act (2012)

April 18, 2012

The Violence Against Women Act of 1994 (VAWA) is a United States federal law (Title IV, sec. 40001-40703 of the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994, H.R. 3355) signed as Pub.L. 103-322 by President Bill Clinton on September 13, 1994. The Act provided $1.6 billion toward investigation and prosecution of violent crimes against women, imposed automatic and mandatory restitution on those convicted, and allowed civil redress in cases prosecutors chose to leave unprosecuted. The Act also established the Office on Violence Against Women within the Department of Justice.

VAWA was drafted by the office of Senator Joseph Biden (D-DE), with support from a broad coalition of advocacy groups. The Act passed through Congress with bipartisan support in 1994, clearing the House by a vote of 235--195 and the Senate by a vote of 61--38, although the following year House Republicans attempted to cut the Act's funding. In the 2000 Supreme Court case United States v. Morrison, a sharply divided Court struck down the VAWA provision allowing women the right to sue their attackers in federal court. By a 5--4 majority, the Court's conservative wing overturned the provision as an intrusion on states' rights.

VAWA was reauthorized by Congress in 2000, and again in December 2005.[4] The Act's 2012 renewal was fiercely opposed by conservative Republicans, who objected to extending the Act's protections to same-sex couples and to provisions allowing battered illegal immigrants to claim temporary visas.

Monday, 1 August 2011

The Inspiring Story Of Crystal Lee Sutton

* First Video: Celebrating the Life and Legacy of Crystal Lee Sutton

* Second Video: "Norma Rae" Trailer

Crystal Lee Sutton (née Pulley; December 31, 1940 – September 11, 2009), formerly known as Crystal Lee Jordan, was an American union organizer and advocate who gained fame during the early 1970s. She was fired from her job at the J.P. Stevens plant in Roanoke Rapids, North Carolina for trying to unionize its employees.

According to Wikipedia, Sutton was earning $2.65 an hour folding towels. The poor working conditions she and her fellow employees suffered compelled her to join forces with Eli Zivkovich, a union organizer, and attempt to unionize the J.P. Stevens employees. “Management and others treated me as if I had leprosy,” she stated.

She received threats and was finally fired from her job. But before she left, she took one final stand, filmed verbatim in the 1979 film Norma Rae. “I took a piece of cardboard and wrote the word UNION on it in big letters, got up on my work table, and slowly turned it around. The workers started cutting their machines off and giving me the victory sign. All of a sudden the plant was very quiet…”

Sutton was physically removed from the plant by police, but the result of her actions was staggering. The Amalgamated Clothing and Textile Workers Union won the right to represent the workers at the plant on August 28, 1974. Sutton later became a paid organizer for the ACTWU. Sutton was the 13th recipient of the Pacem in Terris Peace and Freedom Award in 1980. The honor was named after a 1963 encyclical letter, Pacem in Terris (Peace on Earth), by Pope John XXIII, that calls upon all people of good will to secure peace among all nations.

Monday, 30 May 2011

The Real Erin Brockovitch

Erin Brockovich-Ellis (born June 22, 1960) is an American legal clerk and environmental activist who, despite the lack of a formal law school education, or any legal education, was instrumental in constructing a case against the Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) of California in 1993. Since the release of the film that shares her story and name, she has hosted Challenge America with Erin Brockovich on ABC and Final Justice on Zone Reality. She is the president of Brockovich Research & Consulting, a consulting firm. She is currently working as a consultant for Girardi & Keese on the east coast, the New York law firm Weitz & Luxenberg, which has a focus on personal injury claims for asbestos exposure, and Shine Lawyers in Australia.

The case alleged contamination of drinking water with hexavalent chromium, also known as chromium(VI), in the southern California town of Hinkley. At the center of the case was a facility called the Hinkley Compressor Station, part of a natural gas pipeline connecting to the San Francisco Bay Area and constructed in 1952. Between 1952 and 1966, PG&E used hexavalent chromium to fight corrosion in the cooling tower. The wastewater dissolved the hexavalent chromium from the cooling towers and was discharged to unlined ponds at the site. Some of the wastewater percolated into the groundwater, affecting an area near the plant approximately two miles long and nearly a mile wide. The case was settled in 1996 for US$333 million, the largest settlement ever paid in a direct action lawsuit in US history.

A study released in 2010 by the California Cancer Registry showed that cancer rates in Hinkley "remained unremarkable from 1988 to 2008." An epidemiologist involved in the study said that "the 196 cases of cancer reported during the most recent survey of 1996 through 2008 were less than what he would expect based on demographics and the regional rate of cancer."

Average chromium(VI) levels in Hinkley were recorded as 1.19 ppb with a peak of 3.09 ppb. The PG&E Topock Compressor Station averaged 7.8 ppb and peaks at 31.8 ppb based on the PG&E Background Study. Compare to the California proposed health goal of 0.06 ppb.. (Source: Wikipedia)

Tuesday, 8 March 2011

James Bond dresses in drag for women's rights

On the 100th anniversary of International Women's Day, events have been taking place the world over to celebrate women's achievements - and highlight ongoing discrimination.

Actor Daniel Craig becomes more Bond girl than 007, appearing in drag in a short film to support the day in Britain.

Actress Dame Judi Dench, spymaster M in the James Bond films, narrates the video. She notes 007's "fondness for women" before asking whether he has "ever considered what it might be like to be one."

Tuesday, 25 January 2011

Prostitution: Behind the Veil (2004)

Prostitution: Behind the Veil (2004)
Original title: Prostitution bag sløret
Runtime: 58 min
Director: Nahid Persson
Writer: Nahid Persson
Stars: Nahid Persson
Country: Iran - Denmark - Sweden - Finland
Language: Persian - Swedish (Voice-over)
Release Date: 18 November 2004 (Denmark)
Filming Locations: Tehran, Iran

Prostitution Behind the Veil explores a side of Iran rarely seen or talked about. For over a year, director Nahid Persson filmed the everyday lives of two young female prostitutes in Iran as they eked out a living in a country where the profession is banned. The filmmaker often took great risks to follow Minna and Fariba as they sought out customers-men who would often marry them briefly, so as not to violate the laws of Islam by having extramarital sex. The two women are good friends and neighbor, who have experienced the widespread mistreatment of women and the double standards that permeate Iranian society today.

In the '80s, documentary filmmaker Nahid Persson fled Iran for Sweden. When she returns 17 years later, she finds the divisions between the classes greater than ever, unemployment has skyrocketed and widespread disillusionment provides a lucrative market for an elderly man, Habib, who sells prophecies on the streets. Persson decided to film this "prophecy merchant" and his customers. And when she went with him to his run-down house, she was both shocked and intrigued to discover he shares his accommodation with Minna and Fariba, who are also heroin addicts.

Putting herself at great risk, Persson manages to film Minna and Fariba's customers. She even gets into cars or apartments where they discuss what services the girls are prepared to provide and what it will cost. Their children are their constant companions, and on one occasion one customer looks after Minna's child while another man has sex with her in an adjoining room. Many of the women's customers find a way to buy sex and still comply with Muslim law: they marry with the women in what is called 'sighe'-a temporary marriage legal in Shia Islam. 'Sighe' can last from two hours up to 99 years.In the documentary, both Minna and Fariba undergo 'sighe' with customers. Habib offers his perspective on temporary marriages: to him, 'sighe' is a way of helping miserable women-an act of mercy done in the name of God.

Prostitution Behind the Veil is awarded as the Best News Documentary in various film festivals.

Source: Www.Imdb.Com

Friday, 21 January 2011

78 Year Old Woman Dragged Through Parking Lot

Associated Press,
January 20th, 2011

Police in central Florida say they've arrested two suspects in a violent purse snatching.

Investigators released surveillance video of a 78-year-old being dragged through a parking lot.

61 Year Old Wonder Woman

Patricia Maisch looks like a grandmother, but she is being hailed as a hero for helping to stop alleged Tucson shooter Jared Loughner by wrestling away a fresh magazine of bullets as he tried to reload. Maisch, 61, effectively disarmed the shooter as several men pounced on him and threw him to ground. As they struggled to hold him down, Maisch joined the scrum on the ground, clinging to the gunman's ankles. Maisch and her fellow heroes -- identified as Bill Badger, Roger Sulzgeber and Joseph Zamudio -- stopped the carnage after 20 people were shot, including Rep. Gabrielle Giffords. Six people died.

"[I] knew right away it was a gun... I heard a continuation of shots," Maisch told a news conference today.

Maisch, who has a crown of snow-white hair, was standing towards the back of the line to greet and snap a photo with Giffords at the "Congress in Your Corner" event at a Safeway grocery store. Speaking to the press, Maisch recalled how she stopped Loughner as he tried to reload his Glock 9 mm weapon.

"I could see him coming. [He] shot the lady next to me," Maisch said.

As he was shooting, she said, she was expecting to be hit and she wondered what it would feel like. There was "lots of blood and confusion," she said. She considered trying to run away, she said, but thought that would make her more of a target, so she laid down on the ground. But then something unexpected happened.

"Then he was next to me on the ground," she said. "The gentleman knocked him down."

"I kneeled over him. He was pulling a magazine [to reload] and I grabbed the magazine and secured that. I think the men got the gun, and I was able to get the magazine," she said.

Maisch said Badger and Sulzgeber both sat on the gunman while she held his ankles down. Police said that Zimudie helped by hanging on to Loughner's legs. According to CBS News, Sulzgeber was reportedly standing with his wife, third in line to meet with Giffords, while Zimudie was in the nearby Walgreens and came running out once he heard the shooting.