February 8, 2016

Laws written by men to protect women ...

Laws written by men to protect women deserve scrutiny, Supreme Court told - the Washington Post. An interesting discussion about the motives behind a Texas law that imposes restrictions on abortion providers in the state, ostentatiously to protect women's health. The Texas line of defence actually dates back to 1908, when lawyer by the name, Louis D. Brandeis, who later became the first Jewish judge in the SCOTUS, filed an amicus brief defending a then law restricting a woman's working hours outside of her home :
Brandeis’s 1908 brief was filed in Muller v. Oregon , defending that state’s law limiting the daily hours of women working in factories and laundries (but not those of males). Brandeis argued that it was constitutional for the state to recognize the differences between the sexes.
According to one source quoted in his brief, for women, “free time is no resting time, as it is for a man.” A “working girl” should be “learning to keep house if her future household is not to be a disorderly failure.”

It has taken 108 years and numerous Brandeis briefs for us to recognize that laws that seemingly work in favor of women are actually designed to delegate women to a subordinate status in the society (I am paraphrasing J. Ginsberg). More often than not the institution that puts stumbling blocks in the way of women's equality is ... you guessed it, religion! Read the amicus brief filed by the Priests for Life and learn.

Even election predictions are now Chinese made, and how! Who will win the Democratic nomination? Hillar Clinton. Why? She "is the best on the face . . . Sharp eyes, OK . . . long face, high nose, flexible lips"! Sorry, Uncle Bernie.

A meteorite may have killed someone in Tamil Nadu, India, for the first time since 1825, reports the Washington Post.
"A meteorite fell within the college premises," said Jayalalithaa. The victim, V. Kamaraj, "sustained serious injuries and died while on the way to the hospital," she said. Her government paid his family $1,471 in compensation.

I don't understand how a politician - in this case, Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa - could confirm that it was a meteorite when astrophysicists are yet to visit the site and gather evidence. Could the anticipated "meteoric" rise of Tamil Nadu in global media have anything to do with it, I wonder .

The Zika virus has taken on religious fanatics and their political leaders opposed to abortion. The battle is taking a heavy toll across the "Catholic world" and beyond. Among the victims are infants born with a terrible neurological condition called microcephaly, infants upon whom religion had conferred personhood without their asking, when they were just a single cell, sometimes even before that cell could be made.
Jon O’Brien, president of Catholics for Choice, has appealed to Pope Francis to use the visit next week to reverse this injustice by lifting the church’s ban on birth control, which has always been motivated by politics rather than theology.
A baby with microcephaly (left) compared
to a baby with a typical head size
Historically, science has served humans to harness nature t overcome nature. Except when it's about a woman's life and liberty. Religion steps in between science and woman and denies her the benefits of discoveries and innovations, ostentatiously in the interest of the human species. In reality it is to keep women subordinated to men. That's what the Texas law referred to earlier does. 

I agree that the best chance of lifting the Catholic ban on contraception and abortion lays with Pope Francis, but I doubt that he is above politics.

Talking of pope and politics, here's something that strengthens my misgiving about Francis
A clerical sexual abuse survivor who has been bitterly critical of the response from the Vatican and Pope Francis to several high-profile recent controversies involving abuse scandals has been asked to take a “leave of absence” by other members of the panel.
I rest my case against Pope Francis.

Small mercies from the Kingdom of Allah.
Ashraf Fayadh ... the Palestinian poet who was sentenced to death last year in Saudi Arabia for ‘doubting the existence of God’, has had his sentence commuted to eight years in prison and 800 lashes. 
I think Ashraf will take whatever comes by his way as a reprieve. Losing your head to the sword of Islam is far worse.
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