Punting the Pundits

“Punting the Pundits” is an Open Thread. It is a selection of editorials and opinions from around the news medium and the internet blogs. The intent is to provide a forum for your reactions and opinions, not just to the opinions presented, but to what ever you find important.

Thanks to ek hornbeck, click on the link and you can access all the past “Punting the Pundits”.

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Ruth Rosen: ‘We Will Not Be Beaten’: Thoughts on the 20th Anniversary of the Violence Against Women Act

Until the women’s movement organized in the late 1960s and early 1970s, most Americans considered wife beating a custom.  The police ignored what went on behind closed doors and women hid their bruises beneath layers of make-up.  Like rape or abortion, wife beating was viewed as a private and shameful act which few women discussed. Many battered victims, moreover, felt they “deserved” to be beaten – because they acted too uppity, didn’t get dinner on the table on time, or couldn’t silence their children’s shouts and screams. [..]

Throughout the 1970s, feminists sought to teach women that they had the right to be free of violence. “We will not be beaten” became the slogan of the movement against domestic violence. Books and pamphlets argued that violence violated women’s rights. But it wasn’t until 1994, during the Presidency of Bill Clinton, that Congress passed the Violence Against Women Act, legislation that allocated funds to investigate crimes against women, created shelters for battered women, provided legal aid, and protected victims evicted from their homes because of domestic violence.

Feminists considered VAWA landmark legislation.  It gave the federal government the authority to punish domestic violence.  Studies showed that the law had some positive impact by creating refuges and forcing the judicial system to deal with domestic violence. But as daily newspapers reported, it didn’t stop violence against women in private or in public –  at home, at universities, on streets and in parks.

Amy Kroin: The Internet Slowdown Is Here. Join the Fight

When it comes to broadband speeds, the U.S. still ranks far behind Internet powerhouses like South Korea and Japan (not to mention Latvia). And in many parts of the country, there’s no access at all – or just sloth-like dial-up.

This situation couldn’t get worse, right? Wrong. If the FCC signs off on Chairman Tom Wheeler’s Net Neutrality-killing plan to allow discrimination online, much of what we love about the Internet will be relegated to the slow lane, regardless of how we connect.

That’s why the Free Press Action Fund has teamed up with Demand Progress, Engine Advocacy and Fight for the Future to organize the Internet Slowdown – which could become one of the biggest online protests of all time (step aside, SOPA).

Today, Sept. 10, the sites for dozens of major tech companies and thousands of organizations will display a slow-loading icon to give people a taste of what the Internet could look like without Net Neutrality. Clicking the icons will take Internet users to a series of actions at battleforthenet.com/september10th. The main push: to get Congress to stand up for the open Internet – and to get Wheeler to drop his proposal.

Carmen Velasquez: Obama Broke His Promise to Latinos (Maybe We Should Sit This Election Out)

Why are we still supporting him?

When Barack Obama and I last sat down in 2006, I refused to shake his hand. Today, I still won’t. His announcement last weekend that he would delay executive action on immigration is his fifth broken promise to Latinos on this all-important issue for our community. He has been blind to the pain of the 1,100 deportations our communities face every day and the anguish our families feel as they are swung back and forth as political pawns.

The question for us Latinos – especially the nearly 24 million of us eligible to vote – is, what to do about this? How can we ensure that the fastest-growing demographic in the country isn’t taken for granted by Democrats who purport to be our allies but often dash our hopes in the face of the least bit of political pressure? There are no obvious or even satisfactory answers, but one thing is clear: We’ve been slapped in the face one too many times by this president. And it probably won’t be the last: Obama has a long record of betraying Latinos – and it predates his days in the White House. I’ve seen it up close.

Jessica Valenti: Domestic violence survivors stay for a million reasons. Janay Rice’s is her own

Asking a battered woman why she didn’t leave is just another way to pass judgment on her and excuse her abuser

Why did she stay? How could she possibly marry him?

They are questions that victims of abuse are – wrongly – expected to answer every day. They are the questions that Janay Rice (née Palmer) is being asked to answer, again, now that video has surfaced of Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice delivering a blow to her head in a casino elevator in February that knocked her into a handrail and caused her to lose consciousness. [..]

I want Ray Rice to be punished for what he did, but what I want more is for Janay Rice to be heard – even if you don’t agree with what she’s saying or that she’s choosing to stay. No one knows her life better than she does, and if this outpouring of stories should teach us anything it’s that the best thing we can do for survivors is listen to them. They will tell us what they need.

Amanda Marcotte: A Simple Rule About Sex Some Men Seem to Miss

Some men are confused about what constitutes consent.

For many years now, feminists have been promoting the idea of ” enthusiastic consent” or ” affirmative consent”, the idea that consenting to sexual activity should be about more than a lack of a “no” and that there should be the presence of a “yes”, which can be expressed verbally or non-verbally. This idea, that you should only do sexual things with people who want to do them with you, should be common sense, but a lot of angry sexists online, mostly men who seem afraid that they’ll never get laid if they have to make sure their partners want it, are up in arms about it. But as two major news stories from pop culture show, the belief that women’s bodies are up for grabs unless they are explicitly fighting back is used to justify horrible sexual violations. These stories show how important it is to spread the word that sexual interaction requires not just the absence of a “no”, but the presence of permission, and without permission to use a woman’s body for sexual purposes, you are violating her basic human rights.

The singer CeeLo Green recently pled no contest to a felony charge of giving ecstasy to a woman in 2012. He was accused of sexual assault by the woman, who said he slipped her the drug and that she woke up naked hours later next to him with no memory of what happened.

The smart thing to do after legal trouble like that would be to shut up about it, but Green decided to go on Twitter instead and share his feelings about what constitutes rape and to imply that women’s bodies are up for the taking by anyone who wants them, regardless of the woman’s feelings on the matter. “Women who have really been raped REMEMBER!!!,” he tweeted, even though there’s substantial evidence that most rapists target women they believe are too drunk or high to remember the assault clearly-which obviously helps them escape legal repercussions.

Joan Walsh: GOP’s crude birth control fake: Here’s who they may fool (hint: it’s not women)

Plans to sell “the pill” over the counter reveal they don’t know how it works, and they think women are stupid

You can’t say Republicans haven’t learned from their 2012 disasters: They’ve drilled their candidates not to talk about rape, legitimate or otherwise. Now a few are realizing it hurts to be seen as the party that’s against contraception, too.

But they don’t support the Affordable Care Act, which mandated contraception without a copay. And they can’t come out against the Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby decision, either, which vastly expanded the religious exemption letting employers duck the ACA mandate, since that’s beloved by social conservatives as well as free-marketeers. So in the closing weeks of the 2014 midterms, we’ve seen several Republican Senate candidates running tough races in purple states endorse a novel proposal: allowing pharmacies to sell birth control pills over the counter.