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      I am a feminist, if "feminist" is defined (I know other definitions are used) as "someone who thinks men and women are systematically different but who is also convinced that all doors should be fully open to men and women, and that, by the way, everyone should be free of harassment or insulting attack or even presumptions of inadequacy," here's a truly inspiring news story:


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      Opinion | Barbara Bush Was As Authentic As Her Pearls Were Fake


          I have long had somewhat mixed feelings for Barbara Bush, a patrician but an independent thinker and speaker. She exhibited haughty racism after Katrina, but she also displayed some real feminist strength in an unlikely time and unlikely places. And she bore, somehow, the death of a child--unimaginable pain for those of us who are parents but who have avoided such agony. This sums up some of that pretty well--


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          Cosby Lawyer Grills Andrea Constand's Mother


              For anyone who has ever been a victim of sexual assault or rape, this is one of the worst nightmare scenarios. Not only has one's life been damaged by the assault, sometimes permanently, but the aftermath of defense attorneys attacking one's credibility and motives is another assault, perhaps equally damaging, maybe more so. However, attorneys attacking one's mother, who is afflicted by Parkinson's Disease, is despicable. Shame on Bill Cosby and his attorneys for their cruelty.

              The number of women claiming Bill Cosby drugged and sexually assaulted them is staggering. He appears to be a very sick man with a penchant for having sex with unconscious women. When will this man take responsibility for his actions and be accountable to his victims?

              This is why most sexual assaults and rapes go unreported. The justice system is stacked against victims like these women.

              Cosby Lawyer Cross Examines Mother of Accuser for 3 Hours, Questions How Well She Knows Her Daughter

              Photo: Dominick Reuter (Getty)

              NORRISTOWN, Pennsylvania—It was until close to the end of her nearly three-hour cross examination on Monday that Gianna Constand began to cry. She already seemed exhausted, several times putting her hands around her face. She had snapped back at the person questioning her, defense lawyer Kathleen Bliss, at one point responding to a question with, “Don’t talk to me like that.” But that was hardly surprising by the time it happened. Even the typically even-keeled Judge Steven O’Neill let a bit of frustration show at Bliss as she pushed Gianna Constand and the court to give her exactly she wanted.

              Gianna Constand’s testimony was one of the biggest moments of last year’s criminal trial of famous comedian Bill Cosby on three counts of aggravated indecent assault, when her retorts and refusal to fall for the defense team’s line of questioning made her seem like one of the strongest parts of the prosecution’s case. But in this retrial, close to a year later, Cosby’s legal team had time to study her. Bliss was brutal in her cross examination, sparing nothing as she questioned how well Gianna Constand might even know her own daughter, Andrea, the person the entire case is about.


              The closing moment in the first round of cross examination was this:

              Bliss: “You and your husband raised them to be good girls.”

              Gianna Constand: “Definitely.”

              Bliss: “So it’s fair to say that ... it would have broke your heart to know ... that your daughter Andrea was having affair with a married man.”

              Gianna Constand: “My daughter was not having an affair with a married man.”

              District Attorney Kevin Steele: “Objection.”

              O’Neill: “Sustained.”

              Bliss: “You didn’t raise your daughter to have an affair with a married man.”

              Steele: “Objection.”

              O’Neill: “Sustained.”

              Bliss: “I have no further questions.”

              Like last year, Gianna Constand testified about how her daughter Andrea seemed different after returning from Temple and kept having nightmares. Then one day Andrea called Gianna Constand on her way to work and told her that Cosby had drugged and sexually assaulted her. Afterward, an angry Gianna Constand—she said her eyes were “like two pools of blood”—called Cosby and confronted him in a phone call.

              “He said, ‘Oh I felt like I was a dirty, old, perverted man’ and then, near the end of the conversation, as before I feel like he surrendered and he admitted to me that he was a sick man,” Gianna Constand said, later recalling that Cosby’s last words to her on that call were “It took Andrea to stop him.”

              Gianna Constand recorded her next phone call with Cosby, but he spoke much more vaguely in that conversation. The family also reached out to law enforcement, starting the long process of legal and judicial starts and stops that lead up to last Monday’s new trial.

              “ARE YOU TRYING TO TRICK ME?”

              But while Gianna Constand was able to dodge much of the defense’s attempts to rattle her last year, she broke down this time. On cross examination, Bliss asked round after round of questions implying that Andrea Constand was trying to break into Hollywood after college (Gianna Constand said her daughter was just trying to figure out her next step); implying that Andrea Constand was about to get fired from Temple (Gianna Constand denied this); implying that Temple was going to fire Andrea (Gianna Constand denied this); and implying that Gianna Constand got a new house out of the financial settlement her daughter reached with Cosby back in 2005 (Gianna Constand said that wasn’t true). But the intentions by the defense to instill motives of financial gain (and financial insecurity) are consistent with earlier statements from Bliss leading into the trial.

              In Opening Statement, Bill Cosby's Lawyer Says Andrea Constand Wanted 'Money, Money, and Lots More…

              NORRISTOWN, Pennsylvania—Bill Cosby’s defense team had its turn talking to jurors today, with…

              “This isn’t about money Miss Bliss!” Gianna Constand said.

              Another time, Bliss tried to suggest that the changes in Gianna Constand’s daughter “could be due to financial problems, could be due to losing her job.”

              “Are you trying to convince me?” Gianna Constand shot back.

              “No,” Bliss told her.

              “Well, you’re wrong.” Gianna Constand said. “You’re wrong. You’re wrong. You’re wrong.”

              Bliss also hammered Gianna Constand, over and over again, about what exactly her family wanted to accomplish by reaching out to law enforcement and lawyers back in 2005. Bliss asked questions implying that there was something suspicious in how Gianna Constand waited until she got home from work to take action on the day her daughter first told her about the alleged assault. At one point, Gianna Constand openly asked Bliss, “Are you trying to trick me?” Another time, after Gianna Constand said “yes” to a question about if the Constands ever talked about money, she ended her answer with “that doesn’t mean anything.” Bliss asked that the comment be stricken from the record.

              After the first round of cross examination was finished, Steele got up and asked a simple question: “Mrs. Costand do you have an illness?” Bliss objected. That objection was denied, and Steele asked again: “Do you suffer from Parkinson’s?” Gianna Constand confirmed. “This whole day has been difficult for you, yes?” Steele asked next.

              Article preview thumbnail
              Bill Cosby Accuser Andrea Constand: 'I Am Here for Justice'

              NORRISTOWN, Pennsylvania—For a second time, Andrea Constand took the stand and calmly and…

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              “Yes,” Gianna Constand said, finally giving in to the tears. A minute later, Steele asked, “Do you know what he did to your daughter?”

              “Yes,” she answered.

              “How?” Steele asked.

              “Because he told me.”

              But Bliss was legally allowed one last chance to question Gianna Constand: Bliss emphasized that Cosby’s admitted no guilt in the call that Gianna Constand had recorded. She questioned Constand several times about why she didn’t sound angrier in the recording, leading up to her final question, “You wouldn’t have worried about Benadryl?”An objection on that was sustained. Afterward, Gianna Constand said, “It wasn’t Benadryl.” And then she was dismissed.

              Gianna Constand’s testimony followed the cross examination of her daughter, Andrea, performed by a different defense lawyer, Tom Mesereau. In some ways, Mesereau pulled from the same playbook as the first trial. He questioned Constand about all the time she spent alone with Cosby, asking at one point, “Did you think it was appropriate to be in a married man’s room at the time?” Mesereau pointed out every little difference from various statements that Constand gave either to law enforcement or in depositions. He quizzed Constand on her many phone calls to Cosby in the months after Constand says she was assaulted and pointed out her phone calls to Cosby on Valentine’s Day of that year, doing his best to raise the perception that Constand wasn’t acting like a real victim.


              But unlike last year’s legal team, Mesereau also wanted to portray Constand as a schemer out for money. He asked her more questions about her emails that, he said, showed she was part of a pyramid scheme. Mesereau also asked Constand questions about her settlement with Cosby, having Constand read sections that implied she wasn’t supposed to talk afterward, let alone participate in a criminal case. It was, overall, an even more aggressive cross examination than last year.

              On redirect, prosecutor Kristen Feden asked questions to discount the defense’s arguments. Feden, through her questions, pointed out that the “pyramid scheme” emails didn’t involve an actual pyramid scheme because they sold products. And, like last year, Feden had Constand explain that many of Constand’s phone calls were her calling Cosby back after he had left her a voicemail. Constand went over the parts of her testimony where she has been consistent over the many years. And Constand also read aloud from a different portion of the settlement document, which showed that despite signing it she still was required by law to cooperate with legal measures like a subpoena.

              The case will continue on Tuesday morning. It wasn’t clear who will testify next for the Commonwealth’s case.


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              Pundit Post

              This Is No Place For A Woman!


                  [Women Matters]

                  Pardon me for butting in ladies but I ran across this little puzzle of a story and thought it fitting for this forum.

                  In honor of Women's herstory (Sheonode) month I present this picture of one woman amongst a field of men. She's the one with the ribbon in her hair, left of center third row. Also, she is the only black face in the field. I'm sure she really felt out of place. What is funny about this picture is that no one knew who the woman was. People, apparently, could identify the men but no one could answer the question. Who is that woman? Now we know.


                  Meet Shelia Diane Minor Huff. A now retired former federal employee who started at the bottom at the tender age of 15.

                  Greetings Everyone!
                  I am a happily RETIRED Federal Employee with 36 years of (past) experience and expertise in Natural Resources Management and the Environmental Sciences. During my career I was employed with the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service; Smithsonian Institution (Chesapeak Bay Research Center); Federal Energy Regulatory Commission; and various offices within The U.S. Department of the Interior in Washington, DC and Chicago, Illinois. I also taught part-time at the University of the District of Columbia.

                  I worked part-time and full-time while pursuing my college education. Started out at the very bottom of the totem pole typing on a manual typewriter when I was 15 years old. Continued working as a part-time clerk typist until I obtained a GS-3 position in the Federal government (while I was a Junior at The American University). Employed full-time during the pursuit of my M.S. degree from George Mason University. All of this taught me endurance; patience; tolerance; and how to solve(?) problems.

                  NOW I am able to pursue ALL of the things that I postponed while employed. This includes spending time with my beautiful family; taking dancing lessons; and performing volunteer work in the DC area.

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                      Fraudulent, unlicensed, so called "women's health centers" that are run by anti choice extremists, and based not on medical facts but on religious beliefs, are lying to women every day.

                      Almost 3.000 of these, all across America (they often call themselves Crisis Pregnancy Centers,) are advertising deceptively, and when unwary women visit them, they are told that birth control doesn't work, that abortions cause Cancer, and they lie further by telling women that they provide a complete range of reproductive care when all they do is promote propaganda against women's choices, including abortion.

                      Two years ago, the government curtailed these operations in California with the Fact Act, so these fake clinics sued, and were struck down by a lower Federal court; but this month the Supreme Court will hear their case. They are challenging the California law requiring these centers to disclose to their patients that their facilities do NOT offer comprehensive reproductive care, including contraception and abortion.

                      If the California case stands, it will put these fake clinics across the nation on notice!

                      The conservative litigation mill Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) brought the lawsuit on behalf of these fake clinics, arguing the law violates their First Amendment free speech rights. Passed in 2015, the law requires the state’s licensed pregnancy centers to display a brief statement with a number to call for access to free and low-cost birth control and abortion care.

                      Unlicensed centers must disclose that they are not medical facilities.

                      The challengers argue the disclosure violates their First Amendment free speech and religious exercise rights because it requires the religiously affiliated institutes send a message that conflicts with their mission of promoting childbirth—despite misleading clients in the process.


                      CPCs [Crisis Pregnancy centers]typically employ a variety of deceptive tactics, including posting misleading adsand establishing locations next to clinics and hospitals, with the intent of luring women into their offices. Once women are in their clutches, they bombard them with spurious information: that abortions are extremely painful and perilous, that ending an unwanted pregnancy may result in permanent psychological damage, that an abortion might not even be necessary because miscarriage is so common. In some cases, staff will even lie about the fetus' gestational age in order to push the pregnancy past the legal window for termination. There are currently over 3500 CPCs operating in America, compared with around 800 abortion clinics.



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                      The Insidiousness Of Misogyny


                          Some may be tired of hearing this once again, but if we're ever to have true equality, we need to be familiar with the bias against women creeping through our daily lives.

                          A new example, highlighting the difference between how men vs. women are treated, has come to the forefront again, with the announcement by Mitt Romney as a candidate for a senate seat in Utah. So far, no one has told him to go home and take up knitting.


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                          How The Bicycle Paved The Way For Women's Rights


                              Freedom, it's the American way! But, it wasn't always so for American women trapped inside their Victorian era, stuffy, restrictive couture and in the housewife roles limited them to the interior of their homes. Alas, the bicycle came along and helped pave the way for new women's apparel, which dared to reveal female ankles just a little, and a place out of the roads alongside their male cohorts. It changed the way women experienced the world around them, and began a transition, an exodus, to the great outdoors where women became more integrated into the larger society. It also expanded women's role in athletics, which greatly helped women like me, find their passion and inner-strength.

                              Perhaps some things never change. As I ready myself for the coming biking season, I hone in on my breathing skills, weight-lift to keep my legs ready for hill climbing, and stretch out those hamstring muscles to hopefully avoid muscle cramps and stiffness on the ride. The freedom to roam, out onto American trails and roads, is a strong desire for me. For my 25 wedding anniversary, my husband bought me the ultimate gift a bike girl can get -- a Colnago C60. This is like the Ferrari of bikes, made for speed and for long, challenging rides. I have three other bikes including a 'fat tire' that I use to train in the snow. "Black Beauty," "Helga," "The Beast," and "White Lightening" are some of my best friends. Yes, I name my rides. They are the friends that carry me thousands of miles a year and keep my united with a group of guys, and a few women, who are dedicated to the sport of road biking. I have suffered cuts, sprains, wasp and hornet stings, rattle snakes threatening to strike at me, a moose sighting from 7 feet away, falls, and bruises, and yet nothing deters me from seeking that freedom to ride.

                              I'm sure other Yabberz members have a passion that drives them to find a way to express their freedom, and I'd love to hear from some who do : )

                              Do tell ~

                              How the Bicycle Paved the Way for Women's Rights

                              The technology craze of the 1890s meant fashion freedom and transportation independence.

                              Women cyclists dry themselves off after getting wet during the 1936 N.C.U cyclists rally at Alexandra Palace in London. Corbis Historical / Getty

                              The bicycle, when it was still new technology, went through a series of rapid iterations in the 19th century before it really went mainstream. Designers toyed with different-sized front and back wheels, the addition of chains and cranks and pedals, and tested a slew of braking mechanisms.

                              By the 1890s, America was totally obsessed with the bicycle—which by then looked pretty much like the ones we ride today. There were millions of bikes on the roads and a new culture built around the technology. People started "wheelmen" clubs and competed in races. They toured the country and compared tricks and stunts.

                              The craze was meaningful, especially, for women. Both Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton are credited with declaring that "woman is riding to suffrage on the bicycle," a line that was printed and reprinted in newspapers at the turn of the century. The bicycle took "old-fashioned, slow-going notions of the gentler sex," as The Courier (Nebraska) reported in 1895, and replaced them with "some new woman, mounted on her steed of steel." And it gave women a new level of transportation independence that perplexed newspaper columnists across the country. From The San Francisco Call in 1895:

                              It really doesn't matter much where this one individual young lady is going on her wheel. It may be that she's going to the park on pleasure bent, or to the store for a dozen hairpins, or to call on a sick friend at the other side of town, or to get a doily pattern of somebody, or a recipe for removing tan and freckles. Let that be as it may. What the interested public wishes to know is, Where are all the women on wheels going? Is there a grand rendezvous somewhere toward which they are all headed and where they will some time hold a meet that will cause this wobbly old world to wake up and readjust itself?

                              Others, like this Sunday Herald writer in 1891, were decidedly less open minded:

                              The bicycle, as a new technology of its time, had become an enormous cultural and political force, and an emblem of women's rights. "The woman on the wheel is altogether a novelty, and is essentially a product of the last decade of the century," wrote The Columbian (Pennsylvania) newspaper in 1895, "she is riding to greater freedom, to a nearer equality with man, to the habit of taking care of herself, and to new views on the subject of clothes philosophy."

                              Yes, bicycle-riding required a shift away from the restrictive, modest fashion of the Victorian age, and ushered in a new era of exposed ankles—or at least visible bloomers—that represented such a departure from the laced up, ruffled down fashion that preceded it that bicycling women became a fascination to the (mostly male) newspaper reporters of the time.

                              (This article, above has been abbreviated. The original article, in entirely, is accessible below.)

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