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Disenfranchised black students in Texas march seven miles to vote

Pandagon :: Then democracy asserted itself, just like that :: February :: 2008

Early voting in Texas started on Tuesday. The genius of early voting is that it’s convenient. You can usually vote at any polling place in your county, instead of having to make sure you’re going to the right one. Which makes it simple to vote during your lunch hour or at the grocery store on the way home from work, etc. Great idea, right? I think so. I’ve always enjoyed it.

Unfortunately, it appears that the system is rigged so that convenient polling places are only available to some people, which changes the demographics of who actually votes. Surprise surprise, one of the targets of such abuse is a historically black university outside of Houston called Prairie View A&M. Their county is only providing two voting machines, and they are located away from the university, so voting is convenient for townies, but not the students. The students, who have been victimized by this sort of disenfranchisement tactic before, decided to stage a protest.

Google to store patients' health records

Google to store patients' health records - Yahoo! News

SAN FRANCISCO - Google Inc. will begin storing the medical records of a few thousand people as it tests a long-awaited health service that's likely to raise more concerns about the volume of sensitive information entrusted to the Internet search leader.

The pilot project to be announced Thursday will involve 1,500 to 10,000 patients at the Cleveland Clinic who volunteered to an electronic transfer of their personal health records so they can be retrieved through Google's new service, which won't be open to the general public.

Each health profile, including information about prescriptions, allergies and medical histories, will be protected by a password that's also required to use other Google services such as e-mail and personalized search tools.

Joe Louis' sister, 92, freezes to death

Joe Louis' Sister, 92, Dies in Cold Oustide Assisted-Living Center...

February 19, 2008

Susan Faludi on the backlash against 9/11 widows who refused to tow the media line

Extract: Susan Faludi on the backlash against bereaved women who refused to play victim after 9/11 | Extracts | guardian.co.uk Books

Widows who didn't contribute to the "wonderful story" found themselves dropped from the media dance card. Widows who openly flouted its terms were treated far worse - they found themselves the objects of widespread censure. This was the lesson learned by one group of women in particular. As the wives of the most vaunted "heroes", the firefighters' widows were at first the most exalted - "perfect virgins of grief", New York magazine called them. That is, until the day the virgins began throwing off their habits, and - armed with an average $2m to $3m (�1.5m) in compensation and charity cheques - began to exercise some economic and personal independence. Their private affairs - what they shopped for, where they chose to live, whom they dated - attracted public scrutiny and public reproach. The widows were said to be spending "blood money" on what were invariably referred to as "lavish lifestyles".

Media censors took exception to "the many expensive Xboxes under one widow's Christmas tree". They printed scuttlebutt about firefighters' widows who were supposedly going on "exotic vacations", having breast implants, or filling their garages with fleets of Mercedes-Benzes. Some widows did trade in their old cars for new ones or move their families to better homes (and why not?), but by and large, the more egregious reports of "spending sprees" were unverified. The same lack of hard data backed the media-declared trend of widows romancing their late husbands' firefighting buddies. Press reports variously set the number of women engaging in this "dirty little secret" at "many", "at least eight", "at least a dozen", and "10 or 11 such love triangles". In the end, the press produced exactly two documented cases of a love affair between a firefighter and a firefighter's widow - and provided specific information on only one of them, thanks to non-stop bad-mouthing by the widow's resentful brother-in-law.

Horrifying: Never trust a doctor

Who Watches The Doctors?

It sounds like the stuff of nightmares, or a horror story.

A woman goes into her local hospital for routine minor surgery to remove a tiny lesion on her labia. But just before the anaesthetic is administered, her doctor leans over her - out of earshot of the operating theatre staff.

I’m going to take your clitoris too,” he whispers.

When she wakes…

Pain... agonising pain. To her horror, all her external genitalia – labia and clitoris – have been cut out of her body.

February 18, 2008

Missouri trying to reclassify Emergency Contraception as "abortion inducing"

Feministing

This is pretty egregious. EC is contraception. That's what the C stands for. Saying it is an abortion is like saying condoms cause abortions.

Legislation proposed in Missouri would classify emergency contraception as an "abortion-inducing medication." Which, you know, it's not.

The bill also would protect pharmacies from lawsuits and from punishment by state regulators for refusing to sell or fill a prescription for any drug defined as triggering an abortion.

Opponents attacked the proposal as an unconstitutional restraint on reproductive freedom and an unconscionable affront to sexual assault victims. They said the bill would enshrine an inaccurate medical description in Missouri law, lead to increased numbers of abortions and leave millions of rural Missouri women without access to a safe and reliable form of birth control.