Wednesday watch: Supreme Court v. the American Voter

Republicans who have seen their base dwindle have focused in recent years on egregious attacks on voting rights designed to disenfranchise poor and minority voters. While they claim they are protecting the integrity of elections, voter fraud has not been proven to be an actual problem, and in moments of candor they have more or less admitted the real reason behind these laws.

This will be the first election since the Supreme Court struck down provisions of the historic Voting Rights Act. This op-doc from the New York Times shows how this decision happened and just what is at stake for voters and for our democracy at large.

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Wednesday watch: the threat to voting rights

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver returned just when we need another dose of smart, cutting humor to relieve us from the insanity that is election season. In one of their signature long-form pieces, the show tackled the major threats to voting rights posed by voter suppression laws. Laugh, then lament this attack on democracy, then get involved.

Weekend reading

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12 famous women’s responses for why they don’t have kids.

Fandor offers a list of indie films that go beyond the Bechdel test with depictions of complex relationships between women.

A playlist of songs that pass a version of the Bechdel test for music.

15 female-fronted bands appearing at SXSW.

The Supreme Court will decide whether Texas must issue Confederate flag license plates.

UVA saw large protests after police brutally beat a black student.

Why Facebook is being sued for gender and racial discrimination.

A Google employee points out that their CEO is interrupting his female co-panelist at SXSW.

When men want kids and women aren’t so sure.

Oregon became the first state to automatically register voters.

Students are fighting back against a law that allows people to vote with gun licenses but not student IDs.

Why you should see “Selma”

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Given his significance in our nation’s history and his role as a source of inspiration for so many, you would probably assume there must have been a film about Martin Luther King, Jr. But while he has factored into many stories captured on film before, there hasn’t been a major motion picture focusing on his life. Director Ava DuVernay has taken on his story in Selma, and avoids many of the biopic pitfalls to make a beautiful, riveting and moving film. It features an amazing cast, led by a wonderful performance by British actor David Oyelowo as Dr. King.

The film doesn’t come out until January, but I was fortunate enough to catch a (not completely finished) screening of the film in San Francisco last weekend. Here’s why I think everyone, but especially activists and organizers, should make sure to get out and see Selma next year:

Continue reading “Why you should see “Selma””

What’s at stake in this election

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It’s midterm election season, which means an onslaught of frantic emails and late night TV jokes about how no one cares about the midterm elections. Without a presidential race at the top of the ticket (though frighteningly we’re already having the 2016 conversation), a lot of people are content to let this one pass them by. As with most elections, there’s a lot at stake, and the results will directly impact our lives. I could go on about control of the Senate, extremely close gubernatorial races and state legislatures that have passed everything from Stand Your Ground to draconian voter ID laws. For the sake of brevity, I’m going to focus on some of the issues on the ballot around the country, and opportunities we have to beat back offensive laws or proactively be more bold than our governments are willing to be on their own.

Continue reading “What’s at stake in this election”

Weekend reading

photo via nymag.com
photo via nymag.com

Activists held a Michael Brown protest during a St. Louis Symphony Orchestra performance.

“It is past time to stop seeing Malala as simply the girl who survived, as a symbol. (The Times called her a ‘global emblem.’) She is a girl who leads.”

The producers of the great new show Transparent say they welcome debate about casting Jeffrey Tambor as a trans woman.

Good (bad?) news: court rules that gay marriage won’t lead to “sex, drugs and rock-and-roll.”

5.8 million Americans can’t vote because of their criminal records.

A response to anyone who says Texas’s anti-abortion laws don’t place an undue burden on women seeking care.

What it looks like when a lawyer is appointed for a fetus.

Watch Laverne Cox and bell hooks talk about feminism and pop culture.

Islamophobia on American TV news is out of control.

Weekend reading

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Two women get married after 72 years together. 

A photo essay on women who risked everything to expose sexual assault in the military.

As Cosmo dives into elections this year, they offer 10 reasons young women need to vote in the midterms.

Every president in the last quarter century has gone on prime time TV to announce bombing Iraq.

24,000 transgender voters could be disenfranchised by voter ID laws.

17 black women who deserve their own biopics.

Advice from Ask Polly: “Fuck wondering if you’re lovable. Fuck asking someone else, ‘Am I there yet?’ Fuck listening for the answer. Fuck waiting, alone, for a verdict that never comes. Don’t grow up to be one of those women with a perpetual question mark etched into her brow: Am I good? Am I lovable? Am I enough?

A satisfying video for when you’re annoyed at being told to smile by random dudes.