Right Steps & Poui Trees


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350 Words or Less: Ladies, You Are Armed & Dangerous!

There is obviously something very threatening about women baring arms that seems to result in institutions of state formulating dress codes that prohibit women wearing sleeveless garments in their hallowed halls! This came up in the USA last week. It wasn’t a case of sleeveless in Seattle, but rather a case of sleeveless in Washington DC, in the Speaker’s Lobby in the US House of Representatives.

A journalist was told her sleeveless dress on a hot Washington day was not appropriate and her attempt to create “sleeves” with pages from her notebook didn’t work either. Eventually a California Congresswoman declared a Sleeveless Friday and she and a number of women turned up “inappropriately” dressed.tweet - US women's right to bare arms - 14-7-17Subsequently, Speaker Paul Ryan said that there would be a move to modernise the dress code, having initially reminded women of the need to be “appropriately” dressed.

We have our sleeveless prohibition here too, not only in Gordon House, but in a number of Ministries and other government agencies.  I wrote about it in a blog post last year, sparked by an instance in which a woman fashioned “sleeves” out of two scandal bags and was then allowed inside. You Have Got To Be Kidding! (Those Sleeveless Rules Again…)

Those bare arms are inimical to good order and the efficient conduct of government business and simply cannot be allowed. (We will not talk today about the dangers of bare heads, knees and toes.) Senator Longmore wore a sleeveless dress in the Senate recently, but kept it covered with a shawl throughout the debate. What chaos might otherwise have ensued in the Chamber!

And then there is this photo…. Maybe the prohibition hasn’t always existed, or maybe some people are exempt from the regular rules.

Jamaica Parliament - Princess Margaret 1962

First sitting of Parliament of independent Jamaica, August 1962

You think if I wore a sleeveless frock, but also wore long gloves and a tiara, they’d let me into the Gallery at Parliament?

 

 

 

 

 

 


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350 Words or Less: President-Elect Trump

Five and a half weeks ago, I wrote this in a blog post:

When Trump declared his candidacy for the Republican primaries last year, I hardly paid attention. I was certainly one of many who thought he didn’t stand a chance and was in it for the publicity. Yet here it is, a few weeks before the US election and not only is he the Republican candidate but there is a possibility that he could win.

I have no vote, but I follow the election, not only out of a general interest but also because I have relatives who live in the US and because what happens in the US impacts the rest of the world.

Last night, Donald Trump was elected President of the USA. Surreal, but real. As well as gaining the Presidency, the Republicans held onto the House and the Senate.

At about 2:30 this morning, Hillary Clinton called Trump to concede and at 9:30am she will make her public concession speech in New York.

I chose a 350 Words or Less format for this blog post because, like so many people in America and around the world, I am still processing the Trump win and what it means for the world. One of the areas of most concern is what it means for the efforts to deal with the crucial issue of climate change.

As always, there’s work to be done….

 


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River Sunrise

A windblown leaf chases round and round a chair leg, like a playful mouse. I put a towel on the iron patio chair before sitting down. It is much colder in this Wisconsin river valley than on my roof at home. Mist hangs over the water, as the sun burnishes the riverside trees. As the steam rises from my cup of tea. As I listen to a crow cawing in a leafless tree nearby. The bright yellow down near the river bank is an autumn tree; it reminds me of my garden’s pouis. Sunlight stored in blossoms and leaves spilling out in profusion, drawing my attention. It isn’t home. But it reminds me…there’s sunrise everywhere.p1030951


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350 Words or Less: Grabbing Women’s Body Parts

Many years ago I was driving behind a minibus along Barbican Road, heading towards Barbican Square. The conductor was standing on the bus step, half hanging out of the bus as it moved along in the line of traffic. Just as we passed the intersection with Garth Road, the conductor reached out and grabbed the breast of a schoolgirl walking on the sidewalk, facing the oncoming traffic. The conductor laughed as the bus continued on its way. The adolescent schoolgirl, in her crisply pressed uniform, had a look of horror on her face, as she drew her arms up in front of her in a protective gesture.

Last week a video came to light in which Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is heard saying the following, among other things:

“I’m automatically attracted to beautiful [women]—I just start kissing them. It’s like a magnet. Just kiss. I don’t even wait. And when you’re a star they let you do it. You can do anything … Grab them by the pussy. You can do anything.”

hands

Trump, in his apology or justification, said this was just “locker room talk”. As discussion about his comments continues, a number of women are speaking out about their experiences with Trump kissing, groping or grabbing them in the past.

Is there need for more discussion about who has the right to grab women’s body parts? In workplaces, homes, social settings, the street, schools, universities, public transportation, church, Parliament? Is grabbing a woman’s body parts without her consent ever acceptable? Does it matter who you are or who the woman/girl is? If you have power or are a star or are in a moving vehicle is it okay? Does her age or what she’s wearing or the size of her breasts or her perceived level of beauty matter?

Across the world, to varying degrees, women’s bodies are viewed with a sense of entitlement by men, viewed by many as there to be grabbed in one way or another, physically, verbally, metaphorically, legislatively, in whole or in part – breast, bottom, vagina, uterus.

And for many people, ah nuh nuttn.

 

 


350 Words or Less: So I Watched The Debate on Monday…

So, I watched the first US Presidential debate on Monday night and I think there is little doubt that Hillary Clinton won. She was well-prepared, knowledgeable and was calm and steady throughout. Donald Trump, whose campaign seemed to be making his lack of preparation into a virtue, was unprepared, didn’t have enough of a foundation of knowledge about many of the issues to wing it and rambled and misstepped a number of times.

The split screen of the two candidates, which was shown for most of the debate, offered a good opportunity for viewers to make an ongoing comparison for an extended period of time, both when the candidates were speaking and listening.

The link below takes you to the full debate, with the candidates coming on stage at 4:22.

Lester Holt of NBC was the moderator and the three areas scheduled for focus were “achieving prosperity, America’s direction and securing America”. A couple of notable moments were:

Clinton & Trump on aspects of race in America ( video 43:18 – 58:43)

Clinton & Trump on nuclear capabilities & defense (video 1:25:25 – 1:31:30)

npr-debate-transcript-26-9-16NPR’s annotated transcript from Monday night is another useful resource for reviewing the debate.

I agree with Clyde Williams that Clinton outscored Trump in all aspects of debate performance.williams-tweet-re-debate-26-9-16williams-tweet-re-debate-26-9-16-bYet I obviously can’t say that this performance guarantees that Clinton will win the election. Nobody realistically can. Not in what is an extremely strange election on so many counts. Many commentators after the debate said that they had never seen anything like it in their 20, 30, 40 years of watching US presidential debates. The most I would do is to agree with one commentator I heard, who said that Clinton’s debate performance may stop or at least slow the previous momentum towards Trump that was being seen in the polls. By next week, the polls should be showing whether or not this is so.

 

There are two more debates and 6 weeks to go till the election, which is a lot of time in politics.

 


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350 Words or Less: You Following the US Election Too?

Most days now, I check Nate Silver’s FiveThirtyEight site. I could say I’m there to read the articles. There are often very good articles and sometimes I read them. But the truth is I’m there for the pictures. Specifically the three forecasting model pictures which answer the question:

ns-rwb

Here are the three pictures today:

 

The first gives the Polls-plus forecast, the second the Polls-only forecast & the third the Now-cast, which are explained below:

538-three-models-for-forecast

I can also have a look at the trend graph, which gives an indication of whether the gap between Clinton and Trump is widening or narrowing according to an overall assessment of polls.ns-polls-plus-graph-24-9-16-pm

When Trump declared his candidacy for the Republican primaries last year, I hardly paid attention. I was certainly one of many who thought he didn’t stand a chance and was in it for the publicity. Yet here it is, a few weeks before the US election and not only is he the Republican candidate but there is a possibility that he could win.

I have no vote, but I follow the election, not only out of a general interest but also because I have relatives who live in the US and because what happens in the US impacts the rest of the world.

On Monday coming, there will be the first of the three debates between Clinton and Trump. I will be watching. It will also be a lively topic for discussion with family in many countries via our dedicated e-mail thread and Whats App group. You can see the Trump campaign spin emerging in this recent interview with Jimmy Fallon, beginning at minute 1:05.

 

Fallon: …You say you don’t traditionally prepare for the debate…

Trump: …I was in eleven debates in the primary system…I never debated professionally or from a political stand point before…they’re trying to game the system…they’re trying to make it so that Lester’s going to come out and be really tough on me…

Nate Silver also had some thoughts on this:ns-trump-tweet-23-9-16-ans-trump-tweet-23-9-16-bns-trump-tweet-23-9-16-cClinton, based on knowledge and experience, should win this debate. But hey…

 


350 Words or Less: Auctioning the Gun Used to Kill Trayvon Martin

When I saw the news this morning, my reaction was “How obscene!” BBC report

BBC tweet re gun - 12-5-16

If a man quietly sells a gun that he legally owns, that’s one thing. But to market it at auction as the gun that killed teenager Trayvon Martin, as an “opportunity to own a piece of American History” is quite another. NPR report

NPR tweet re gun - 12-5-16

But this seems to be quite in keeping with the character of the man who killed the unarmed teenager, feels entirely justified in having done so and was cleared by the courts of the charges against him. Why not make as much money as you can out of the one thing you will probably be remembered for? And he will probably find a willing buyer for the gun.

After all, there used to be a good market for souvenirs of lynchings too….

Lynching of Laura Nelson and her son - Image 38 Without Sanctuary

Photo postcard of The lynching of Laura Nelson and her son, several dozen onlookers. May 25, 1911, Okemah, Oklahoma. Taken by photographer G. H. Farnum. Image 34 in Without Sanctuary online gallery of photographs. (If you go to the site, which documents lynching in America through photographs and postcards, you need to be aware beforehand that much of the material is graphic and extremely disturbing.)

UPDATE

The advertisement, which was visible on one site this morning, has since been removed to another site.