Tag Archives: Feminsim

Joni Mitchell Magdalene Laundries

Joni Mitchell Magdalene Laundries

Magdalene Asylums

Joni Mitchell Magdalene Laundries

September 26, 1996

From the documentary: Sex In A Cold Climate The Magdalene Asylums
Joni Mitchell Magdalene Laundries

Double standards

Societies have double standards. One of the most prominent, yet most denied is the relationship between males and females. The French have their expression vive la différence regarding that relationship. Biologists have studied the quantitative chemical differences between the sexes, but those differences are not qualitative. There is no female traits that are completely female nor male traits completely male. We are all both in varying degrees.

As rationally as some can approach the reality, most humans continue to treat human males and human females as if they were different species and allow males to dominate females. Such a difference is particularly true with regard to sexual behavior. The sale and purchase of sex is illegal nearly everywhere, but societies typically punish the male buyer far less seriously and far less often than the female seller.

Joni Mitchell Magdalene Laundries

Magdalene Asylums

The Magdalene Asylums existed in the United Kingdom as a means to “rescue” prostitutes. No analogous institution existed to rescue males who regularly frequented prostitutes. The first “Magdalene Home” was established in England in 1758; Ireland followed in 1765. Both the Anglican and Presbyterian churches ran these so-called asylums, but the Catholic Church in Ireland is the most associated (keep in mind that at the time of their creation, Ireland was part of the UK). There were also Magdalene asylums in Canada and Australia.

Joni Mitchell Magdalene Laundries

Magdalene Laundries

With he Biblical maxim that “Idle hands are the devil’s workshop; idle lips are his mouthpiece” in mind, the mostly young women sent to these asylums found a day filled with work. If pregnant, the asylum forced the mother to give up the child, but young women were in the asylum often simply because her family or her parish priest thought the woman might attract male attentiveness or was flirtatious. Or perhaps the parish priest was guilty of that attentiveness and he removed his “near occasion of sin” by sending away the young woman.

Though called an asylum, in actuality the institution was a jail. Inmates had no choice to their being there and once there might be there for life. There had been no trial or due process. There were no visits from the outside world.

Their work was to do laundry (from the outside world) to earn money for the jail.  Asylums may have signed contracts guaranteeing a minimum wage, but the institutions ignored that agreement. The women scrubbed the prison, cooked for the nuns who oversaw the prison, or took care of aging inmates.

During their existence research estimates that 30,000 women were in these institutions. In the theocratic Ireland, both the State and Church conspired to keep jail stories away from the public eye. The inmates’ stories seldom escaped because the inmates rarely left. The Sisters in charge warned those who did leave never to speak of their incarceration.

Joni Mitchell Magdalene Laundries

Abuse revealed

In Dublin in 1993 developers accidentally discovered 133 corpses in an unmarked grave site that had belonged to the Catholic Sisters of Charity. The Sister had sold the property that had once been part of a Magdalene laundry site. Slowly former inmates began to tell the story they’d held in for years or even decades.

In 2001, the Irish Government admitted that the Magdalene Laundries had been places of abuse and 2011 the United Nations Committee Against Torture urged Ireland to investigate the facts and truth of the government involvement.

A 2013, the Irish panel found evidence of verbal abuse, and Ireland’s Prime Minister Enda Kenny issued a full state apology to the victims, calling them the “nation’s shame”. He said, in part, “on behalf of the State, the government and our citizens [I] deeply regret and apologise unreservedly to all those women for the hurt that was done to them, and for any stigma they suffered, as a result of the time they spent in a Magdalene Laundry,”

Joni Mitchell Magdalene Laundries

Joni Mitchell

In 1994 Joni Mitchell released one of the most powerful songs she ever wrote and likely the most powerful song ever written about the Magdalene abuses. The song speaks for itself:

Joni Mitchell Magdalene Laundries

Sinéad O’Connor

Joni Mitchell Magdalene Laundries

On October 3, 1992 Irish singer Sinéad O’Connor used her Saturday Night Live appearance to make a statement about the Catholic Church’s conspiracy to cover up its history of child and sexual abuse by tearing up a photo of Pope John Paul II after her performance of Bob Marley’s “War.” She stated simply, “Fight the real enemy.”

The incident, not surprisingly, brought down a mountain of indignation upon her. In retrospect, her statement is certainly a valid one. [a reader adds that O’Connor herself was incarcerated in one of the laundries. See comments]

Joni Mitchell Magdalene Laundries

Catholic League responds

In 2013, Bill Donohue published an article in the Catholic League entitled “The Myths of the Magdalene Laundries.” Early in the long piece, Donohue states, “The popular perception of the laundries is entirely negative, owing in large part to fictionalized portrayals in the movies. The conventional wisdom has also been shaped by writers who have come to believe the worst about the Catholic Church, and by activists who have their own agenda. So strong is the prejudice that even when evidence to the contrary is presented, the bias continues.”

Joni Mitchell Magdalene Laundries
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November 10 Peace Love Activism

November 10 Peace Love Activism

Black History

Nat Turner
November 10, 1831: Nat Turner hung.
Underground Railroad
From 1831–1862 the Underground Railroad helped approximately 75,000 slaves escape to the North and to freedom . The so-called railroad was a system in which free African American and white "conductors," abolitionists and sympathizers helped guide and shelter the escapees. (Slave Revolts, see in July 2, 1839)
Dred Scott
In 1832 Scott’s owner, Peter Blow, died. (Scott's full story)
Jeremiah Reeves
November 10, 1952: Jeremiah Reeves, a 16-year-old black high school student and jazz drummer, was arrested in Montgomery, Alabama, and interrogated about the rape of Mabel Ann Crowder the previous July. Ms. Crowder, a white woman, had claimed rape after she and was discovered in her home having sex with Jeremiah – sex many in the black community suspected was part of a consensual, ongoing affair. Within minutes of his arrest, Jeremiah was taken to Kilby Prison where, during “questioning” by police, he was strapped into the electric chair and told that he would be electrocuted unless he admitted committing all of the rapes of white women reported that summer. The fearful boy soon confessed to the charges against him. Alabama executed him on March 8, 1958. (BH, see Dec 30; JR, see December 6, 1954)
Marcus Garvey
November 10, 1964: Garvey’s body was returned to Jamaica. The following day he was declared the country's first national hero. He is buried in the Marcus Garvey Memorial, National Heroes' Park, Kingston, Jamaica. (see Nov 14)
Rainey Pool murder
November 10 – 13, 1999: James “Doc” Caston, Charles Ernie Caston, and Hal Spivey Crimm had a joint jury trial in the Circuit Court of Humphreys County, Mississippi, the Honorable Jannie M. Lewis, presiding, for the death of Pool. Doc, Charles and Crimm were convicted of manslaughter by an unanimous jury.   All three men were sentenced to serve a term of twenty (20) years in the custody of the Mississippi Department of Corrections. (see Dec 9)
Murders of Three Civil Rights Workers
November 10, 2014: President Barack Obama announced 19 recipients of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, including James Chaney, Andrew Goodman and Michael Schwerner, the three civil rights workers killed by the KKK, on June 21, 1964 in Mississippi.

"From activists who fought for change to artists who explored the furthest reaches of our imagination; from scientists who kept America on the cutting edge to public servants who help write new chapters in our American story, these citizens have made extraordinary contributions to our country and the world," he said. (see Dec 17) 

Feminism

Voting Rights
November 10 November 10
November 10, 1917: large picket demonstration held to protest treatment of Alice Paul and other suffrage prisoners. Thirty-one pickets arrested, including Dora Lewis and just-released-from-prison Lucy Burns. Pickets sentenced to varying terms at Occoquan Workhouse; Burns receives harshest penalty of six months. (see Nov 15)
Malala Yousafzai

November 10

November 10, 2013: in a decision announced by All Pakistan Private Schools Federation President Mirza Kashif, Malala Yousufzai’s recent book I am Malala will be banned in all schools across the country due to its ‘controversial’ content. In order to justify the decision, Mr. Kashif stated that the reason behind the ban is to avoid any confusion that the book may cause for students. It bears mentioning that the decision was taken by the private school owners; the government remained neutral toward the development. Furthermore, Mr. Kashif said that the book had little to do with the curriculum in schools and therefore should not be included in the syllabus. (see Nov 20)

Free Speech

November 10, 1919:  the US Supreme Court ruled in Abrams v. United States that the federal government could criminalize free speech if it was of a type tending to bring about harmful results, in this case resistance to the United States war effort. In a powerful dissenting opinion, Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes countered that even during wartime, free speech could only be curtailed when there was clear and "present danger of immediate evil or an intent to bring it about." (Abrams v. United States)(see March 23, 1920)

Vietnam

Robert McNamara
November 10, 1964: at a news conference, Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara said that the US had no plans to send combat troops into Vietnam. When asked whether the US intended to increase its activities in Vietnam, he replied, "Wait and see." (see Dec 19)
No combat fatalities
November 10, 1970: for the first time in five years, no U.S. combat fatalities in Southeast Asia were reported for the previous week. (see Nov 17)
Vietnam Veterans Memorial
November 10, 1982: the newly finished Vietnam Veterans Memorial was opened to its first visitors in Washington, D.C. (see Nov 13)

Japanese Internment Camps

November 10, 1983: the 1944 challenge that Fred Korematsu brought regarding the Japanese internment and that the Supreme Court sided with the government in Korematsu v. United States ruling that the exclusion order was constitutional, in response to a petition of error coram nobis (“error before us”) by Fred Korematsu, the San Francisco Federal District Court reversed Korematsu’s 1942 conviction and rules that the internment was not justified. (NYT article) (see August 10, 1988)

Kate Smith, God Bless America

November 10, 1938, Kate Smith first sang Irving Berlin's "God Bless America" on network radio.

Technological and Cultural Milestone

Direct-dial phone call
November 10, 1951: direct-dial, coast-to-coast telephone service began with a call between the mayors of Englewood, N.J., and Alameda, Calif. (coast to coast telephone service) (see Dec 20)

November 10

Sesame Street
November 10, 1969: "Sesame Street" made its broadcast debut. The show was the brainchild of Joan Ganz Cooney, a former documentary producer for public television. Cooney's goal was to create programming for preschoolers that was both entertaining and educational. She also wanted to use TV as a way to help underprivileged 3- to 5- year-olds prepare for kindergarten. (see January 1, 1970)
November 10 Peace Love Activism

Space Race

November 10, 1968: Zond 6 followed its predecessor's trajectory around the moon and returns with a "skip" reentry, bouncing once off the Earth's atmosphere to reduce the G-forces acting upon the contents. Two more Zond flights will follow in 1969 but they will all be unmanned. (see Dec 21 – 27)

Ken Kesey

November 10, 2001:  Ken Kesey died in a hospital in Eugene, Ore. He was 66 and lived in Pleasant Hill, Ore. The cause was complications after surgery for liver cancer late last month, said his friend and business associate, Ken Babbs. (see April 29, 2008)

Marijuana

November 10, 2009:  The American Medical Association softened its position on medical marijuana. The statement read in part: "Our AMA urges that marijuana's status as a federal Schedule I controlled substance be reviewed with the goal of facilitating the conduct of clinical research and development of cannabinoid-based medicines, and alternate delivery methods. This should not be viewed as an endorsement of state-based medical cannabis programs, the legalization of marijuana, or that scientific evidence on the therapeutic use of cannabis meets the current standards for a prescription drug product." (see January 11, 2010)

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October 7 Peace Love Activism

October 7 Peace Love Activism

FEMINISM

Voting Rights

October 7 Peace Love Activism

October 7, 1918: National Women’s Party picketed with banners in front of U.S. Capitol and Senate Office Building. Pickets arrested daily and released without charges. Throughout rest of Oct. and Nov., pickets harassed by unruly crowds and manhandled by police. (see Dec 2)
Women in service academies
October 7, 1975: President Ford approved a public law granting women entrance into Army, Navy, and Air Force academies for the first time beginning in the fall of 1976. (see Oct 15)

The Red Scare, McCarthyism, and the Cold War

October 7, 1949: less than five months after Great Britain, the United States, and France established the Federal Republic of Germany in West Germany, the Democratic Republic of Germany was proclaimed within the Soviet occupation zone. The  West criticized the Republic as an un-autonomous Soviet creation, (see Nov 2)
Windscale nuclear reactor (UK)
October 7, 1957: a fire in the graphite-core reactor in Cumbria results in a limited release of radioactivity (INES Level 5). The sale of milk from nearby farms was banned for a month. The reactor could not be salvaged and was buried in concrete. A second reactor on the site is also shut down and the site decontaminated. Subsequently part of the site is renamed Sellafield and new nuclear reactors are built. (NYT article) (see Dec 17)
Cuban Missile Crisis
October 7, 1962: Cuban President Osvaldo Dorticós spoke at the UN General Assembly: "If ... we are attacked, we will defend ourselves. I repeat, we have sufficient means with which to defend ourselves; we have indeed our inevitable weapons, the weapons, which we would have preferred not to acquire, and which we do not wish to employ." (see Cuban Missile Crisis for full story)
Nuclear test ban treaty

October 7 Peace Love Activism

October 7, 1963: President John F. Kennedy signed the documents of ratification for a nuclear test ban treaty with Britain and the Soviet Union. (CW, see Nov 18; NN, see January 29, 1964)
October 7 Peace Love Activism

October 7 Music et al

Howl

October 7 Peace Love Activism

October 7, 1955: Allen Ginsberg read his poem “Howl” for the first time to an audience at the Six Gallery in San Francisco. "Howl" is considered to be one of the great works of American literature. It came to be associated with the group of writers known as the Beat Generation, which included Jack Kerouac and William S. Burroughs. (see November 1, 1956)

WNEW-FM
October 7, 1967: WNEW-FM’s Pete Fornatelle interviewed Rosko regarding his Oct 2 resignation from WOR-FM. [see Oct 29]
see John Can Stay for more

October 7 Peace Love Activism

October 7, 1975, The Beatles post break-up: the NY State Supreme Court voted to reverse John’s deportation order.  Judge Irving Kaufman wrote "The courts will not condone selective deportation based upon secret political grounds...Lennon's four-year battle to remain in our country is testimony to his faith in this American dream." (see April 24, 1976)

BLACK HISTORY

Freedom Day

October 7 Peace Love Activism

October 7, 1963: in what would be known as "Freedom Day," about 350 blacks line up to register to vote at the Dallas County (Alabama) Courthouse. Registrars go as slowly as possible and take a two-hour lunch break. Few manage to register, most of those are denied, but the protest is considered a huge victory by civil rights advocates. (see Oct 8)
United States versus Cecil Price et al.
October 7, 1967: trial in the case of United States versus Cecil Price et al. began in the Meridian courtroom of Judge William Cox.  Chief Prosecutor John Doar and other government attorneys had reason to be concerned about Cox.  Cox, appointed as an effort to appease powerful Judiciary Committee Chairman (and former roommate of Cox at Ole Miss) Senator James Eastland, had been a constant source of problems for Justice Department lawyers (especially John Doar) who were seeking to enforce civil rights laws in Mississippi.  In one incident, Judge Cox referred to a group of African Americans set to testify in a voting rights case as "a bunch of chimpanzees."

A jury of seven white men and five white women, ranging in ages from 34 to 67, was selected. Defense attorneys exercised peremptory challenges against all seventeen potential black jurors.  A white man, who admitted under questioning by Robert Hauberg, the U.S. Attorney for Mississippi, that he had been a member of the KKK "a couple of years ago," was challenged for cause.  Judge Cox denied the challenge. (Wikipedia entry) (see Oct 20)
Emmett Till
October 7, 2008: President Bush signed the Emmett Till Unsolved Civil Rights Crime Act of 2007 It tasked theJustice Department’s Civil Rights Division and the FBI with reviewing, investigating and assessing for prosecutive merit more than 100 unsolved civil rights era homicides. (BH, see Nov 4; ET, see Emmett Till)

1964 World Series

October 7 - 15 , 1964: World Series St. Louis Cardinals against N Y Yankees,  Cardinals defeated the Yankees in seven games. It was the last Yankee World Series appearance until 1976

War in Afghanistan

October 7, 2001: the armed forces of the US, the UK, Australia, and the Afghan United Front launched Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan. (see Oct 22)

Iraq War II

October 7, 2004:  a CIA report concluded that Saddam Hussein did not possess stockpiles of illicit weapons at the time of the U.S. invasion in March 2003 and had not begun any program to produce them. [CNN, 10/7/04] (see January 12, 2005)

Sexual Abuse of Children

October 7, 2002: a commission appointed by Cardinal Bernard F. Law to help prevent sexual abuse by priests recommended that the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston compile a registry of accused priests and pass information about them to employers. The commission also recommended monitoring accused priests after they were removed from their jobs and reporting information about their work, living situations and any new complaints of abuse to an independent review board of lay experts. (see Nov 3)

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