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January 22, 2012

Are Women People?

Thanks to FairerScience friend Rosa Carson for introducing me to Alice Duer Miller (yes wikipedia is back and POPA and SOPA are dead for now-- thanks everyone!)

Anyway back to Alice Duer Miller. In 1916 she published a fabulous series of satirical poems under the title "Are Women People?". (Which along with 38000 other books you can download for free from the wonderful Project Gutenberg.)

Sorry I'm feeling this is a very disjointed post. What I really want to do is introduce you to Alice Duer Miller's poems so like me you can marvel at how, almost 100 years later, current they feel. Here is just a taste:

Father, what is a Legislature?

A representative body elected by the people of the state.

Are women people?

No, my son, criminals, lunatics and women are not people.

Do legislators legislate for nothing?

Oh, no; they are paid a salary.

By whom?

By the people.

Are women people?

Of course, my son, just as much as men are.

Our Idea of Nothing at All

("I am opposed to woman suffrage, but I am not opposed to woman."—Anti-suffrage speech of Mr. Webb of North Carolina.)

O women, have you heard the news
Of charity and grace?
Look, look, how joy and gratitude
Are beaming in my face!
For Mr. Webb is not opposed
To woman in her place!

O Mr. Webb, how kind you are
To let us live at all,
To let us light the kitchen range
And tidy up the hall;
To tolerate the female sex
In spite of Adam's fall.

O girls, suppose that Mr. Webb
Should alter his decree!
Suppose he were opposed to us—
Opposed to you and me.
What would be left for us to do—
Except to cease to be?

But Then Who Cares for Figures

An argument sometimes used against paying women as highly as men for the same work is that women are only temporarily in industry.

Forty-four per cent of the women teachers in the public schools of New York have been more than ten years in the service, while only twenty-six per cent of the men teachers have served as long.

The Bundesrath of Germany has decided to furnish medical and financial assistance to women at the time of childbirth, in order "to alleviate the anxiety of husbands at the front."

How strange this would sound: "The Bundesrath has decided to furnish medical assistance to the wounded at the front, in order to alleviate the anxiety of wives and mothers at home."

When a benefit is suggested for men, the question asked is: "Will it benefit men?"

When a benefit is suggested for women, the question is: "Will it benefit men?"

Ok I really have to stop now-- but there are lots more.

January 17, 2012

No to SOPA and PIPA!

Wikipedia is down today and I am back; both of us for the same reason: stopping PIPA and SOPA .

PIPA and SOPA are bills before Congress- PIPA (the Protect IP Act) in the Senate and SOPA (the Stop Online Piracy Act) in the House. My favorite source of information on web censorship and equal access EFF, describes it this way:

As drafted, the legislation would grant the government and private parties unprecedented power to interfere with the Internet's underlying infrastructure. The government would be able to force ISPs and search engines to block users' attempts to reach certain websites' URLs. In response, third parties will woo average users to alternative servers that offer access to the entire Internet (not just the newly censored U.S. version), which will create new computer security vulnerabilities as the Internet grows increasingly balkanized.

It gets worse: the blacklist bills' provisions would give corporations and other private parties new powers to censor foreign websites with court orders that would cut off payment processors and advertisers. Broad immunity provisions (combined with a threat of litigation) would encourage service providers to overblock innocent users or even block websites voluntarily. This gives content companies every incentive to create unofficial blacklists of websites, which service providers would be under pressure to block without regard to the First Amendment.

Service providers would be forced to monitor and police their users' activities as well, threatening the DMCA safe harbors that have been vital to online innovation over the last decade. SOPA gives the government new powers to go after sites that provide information about tools that might be used to bypass the blacklists — even though these are often the same tools used by democratic activists around the world to bypass Internet censorship mechanisms implemented by authoritarian governments like Iran and China.

I'm off to e-mail my representative and senators- hope you will too