From the Mailbag

I've just gotten so much good stuff lately, and I regret not being able to write a unique post about every one of them. Items that are potentially triggering are prefaced with [TW].

Shaker John emails about "the paranoid speech that Mormon church leader Dallin Oaks gave at Brigham Young University-Idaho yesterday. It is the most scandalous thing I have ever seen." Paranoid and scandalous is right: Oaks is feverishly peddling the "oppressed believer" angle and begins with this alarming opening salvo: "In choosing my subject I have relied on an old military maxim that when there is a battle underway, persons who desire to join the fray should 'march to the sound of the guns.' So it is that I invite you to march with me as I speak about religious freedom under the United States Constitution." Yay for holy wars!

A bunch of Shakers have sent me various links about a new law in Oklahoma going into effect on Nov. 1 "that will collect personal details about every single abortion performed in the state and post them on a public website." The Center for Reproductive Rights is challenging the law, arguing that "it violates the Oklahoma Constitution because it 'covers more than one subject'—a challenge that previously worked to strike down an abortion ultrasound law."

Shaker DreamingCrow emails: "This was discussed in the NYT's Lens Blog. I just found it incredibly moving and wanted to share. I've known these girls and women... Brenda Ann Kenneally captures the absolutely destroying despair of grinding poverty in a way that most people never grasp."

[TW] Shaker Zen sends this heartbreaking, infuriating, and seriously blub-inducing story about a US District Judge dismissing a lawsuit and finding that a hospital was within its rights to force a lesbian to die alone, forbidding her partner from being with her even after her partner was given durable Power of Attorney and a Living Will naming her as legal guardian with authority to make end-of-life decisions. WHY. MARRIAGE. EQUALITY. MATTERS.

A bunch of Shakers have also sent me various links (mostly this NPR piece and this AP story) about an "artificial virginity device" which has sparked controversy in Egypt. I hardly know where to begin with this one, there are so many issues to be teased out. It has the potential to save lives; it certainly entrenches the double-standard that women are expected to be virgins but men aren't; it masks a reality that not all virgins bleed their first time, anyway; it is, like many accoutrements of the patriarchy, simultaneously a coping strategy and a tool of oppression. Very complex issue.

Shaker blueraven95 forwards this piece about "the subtle art of misogyny," or how women are marginalized in the arts.

[TW] Shaker Koach sends this story about police having made an arrest "in a nearly 20-year-old southeast Texas case where an 8-year-old girl was brutally attacked and left for dead in a field, unable to cry out for help because her throat had been slashed." The man who was arrested had been a neighbor of the victim's; the case sounds eerily reminiscent of the story in The Lovely Bones, except that Jennifer Schuett, thankfully, survived.

[TW] Shaker Angelos emails this link about a lip gloss that detects the presence of drugs in a drink. "Sad that this exists, but still, very cool.‏"

Shaker Honora sends this unbelievable article about a Florida Republican who shot "the initials of the Democratic congresswoman he is trying to unseat" into a target "during a weekly GOP meeting held at a gun range." I don't even know where to start parsing everything wrong with that.

[TW} Shaker GadgetMan emails about a new gaymer survey in which you can participate here. People of all sexual orientations are encouraged to participate. (FYI, I took the survey and didn't find any of the questions to be triggering, but some Shakers who are not binary, cis, L or B or G did.)

Shaker The Great Indoors sends a heads-up about The Conservative Bible Project. Oy.

Shaker Linda sends the link to what has to be the zaniest concert performance I've ever seen. It also sent the cats scurrying around the room hissing at each other, lol.

[TW] Shaker Maria P. forwards more ├╝berfail from the Onion's sports section: Miguel Cabrera Hits Dismal .194 in Fight with Wife. Way to mark Domestic Violence Awareness Month, Onion.

Shaker radbean sends a heads-up about a Jewish Women International campaign to help change attitudes about violence against women by asking the media to use the real facts and the right words in reports on domestic violence. They've made it so simple: Please take just a moment to visit the link and add your voice to the chorus.

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