Posts by Leah Locke

Trayvon Martin and a Conversation We Need To Have

Posted by on Jul 16, 2013 in Politics, Social Issues | 0 comments

The Media has been all over the Trayvon Martin case.  They smell blood in the water.  What they don’t smell is the resurgence of the civil rights movement.  People are waking up.  People are weary of being treated as less than the 1%.  People of all walks of life.  There are some who say this isn’t about race.  First of all those voices are the voices of the willfully blind.  Second of all–in a sense that this is a catalyst for a larger, greater movement they may have a point.  What started out as racial profiling, and the murder of a young man by a racist gun nut is serving as a focal point, a nexus for the anger at injustices large and small from groups that span the spectrum from gays, to women, to the elderly, to the poor, blacks, hispanics, latinos, transgendered.  We are all coming together because we truly understand that injustice against one ripples through the system creating injustice for all.  We understand, as the corporate fascists pray we don’t and spend billions of dollars to propagandize rugged individuality hoping we won’t realize, that we are connected through our humanity, through our cultures, through our lives.  No man is an island, despite the propaganda from the far and evil right.  When one man or woman dies we are all diminished.  We understand that even as the oligarchs work tirelessly to prevent us from realizing it.   Weep for Trayvon and honor him by standing for equality and justice for all.  Something the conservative right has forgotten:  Justice for All; not just those who can afford it.  Justice must be blind, not play favorites to the son of a judge who picked a fight he couldn’t finish then shot a boy.

The racists, the privileged, and the 1% don’t want this conversation to start.  They don’t want to talk about this because they don’t want the masses to compare notes.  They don’t want people to see what’s really going on because if people opened their eyes to reality, they would be outraged.  So you hear it again and again, “the jury spoke now drop it.”  “Shut up already about it.”  “Race baiting.”  All these phrases turned inside out to support the insupportable.  It is time and past time we had this conversation and ignored the evil that would silence us.  We are connected, we are Americans and we are strongest when we come together to fight injustice and build one anther up.

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Indie Film Legitimate–Horror With A Message

Posted by on Jul 14, 2013 in Politics | 0 comments

While horror is not generally my thing, I am interested in just about any story that is well told and any storyteller who has something worthwhile to say. So I came to have the privilege to view Legitimate, an independent short horror film that has a powerful message. Directed, written and produced by Izzy Lee, this film is intense and uncomfortable, as it should be because the message should make people uncomfortable.

She uses the genre of horror to convey a powerful message in a powerful way. Not only does the message need to be communicated, but also it is a message promoting empathy and compassion to people who are fully lacking empathy and compassion.

<em>Legitimate</em> is just over 5 minutes long and opens with the infamous quote by Rep. Todd Aiken, “If it’s legitimate rape, the female body has ways to shut that whole thing down.” Yes this short is a metaphor for the impact of rape on the victims. It is also directed at the calloused, hateful laws the GOP are currently trying to pass in state after state, enslaving women and denying them their civil rights.

It opens with a madam guiding a senator to a seat at a little table. He is given a drink and an exotic dancer comes out to dance for him. She is bound nearly from head to toe in a number of knotted ropes and throughout the dance she removes them one by one in a near striptease fashion, often handing the ends of the rope to the senator as she dances. While there is no full nudity the costume is quite skimpy and we do see her backside. The bindings of the rope are a clear metaphor for rape and the dancer removing them takes back her sexuality with each one that she removes. It is hers to give, not someone else’s to take and if it is taken from her by force that is not a referendum on her it is a condemnation of the one who would violate another person so brutally.

Of course the senator has no empathy for the victims and only sees the dancer before him as an object, a toy for his pleasure and entertainment. As he drinks his booze and watches the dancer he falls into unconsciousness. The next scene shows several women standing over him. Clearly they planned this together. Next we see them holding a jar with a monstrous embryo in it.

When next the senator wakes he is lying in an alley with his jacket over his face, blood on his shirt and no one around. The music in this scene is genius because it implies that something unremarkable has happened to him. It takes a few seconds for him to realize that he has been violated in a very profound fashion. The music starts to be interrupted by harder, more ominous music in short bursts while out of his crudely stitched up stomach comes the monster child that became of the embryo.

He is now face to face with the agony and horror of being forced to carry a physical violation against his will to its bitter end, with all of the pain and fear that comes with it. There is no one to help him and no one to care what was done to him. He is alone, in a litter-strewn alley. He is cast out and cast aside.

<em>Legitimate</em> was difficult to watch because it is so well done and so effective at conveying, for just those all too brief minutes, an inkling of what a rape victim goes through and the additional horror of the real results of the kinds of draconian laws the GOP and their fundamentalist allies are passing in state after state. It is a graphic visualization of a message for those who wholly lack empathy for rape victims. Legitimate is brief, intense and metaphorically brilliant. It is not for everyone, but if anyone can get a message of compassion for rape victims through the thick, sexist, misogynistic skulls of the current GOP it might be Izzy Lee and it might be with this film.

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Criminalizing Pregnancy

Posted by on Feb 18, 2013 in Getting it Wrong, Politics, Women's Rights | 0 comments

This is the outcome, if not the ultimate goal, of the right wing’s constant dehumanization of women.  They do not care about life.  This is evident in their callous disregard for hungry children, their opposition to education and preschools.  But they do want to control women.  To that end they have gradually and successfully criminalized pregnancy.   Thanks to the radical right and their henchmen the Evangelicals and Fundamentalists we now have judges locking women in jail to prevent them from getting abortions.  Here’s the thing:  Abortion is legal in this country.  So let me say that again:  We have judges putting women in jail to keep them from getting abortions.  Not because they committed a crime but because they talked about getting a legal medical procedure which should be between the woman an her doctor.

Is this the kind of country you want to live in?  Seriously?  Because look at where this can go.

If women are required by law to either carry to term every single pregnancy they have or to die trying, then that means the government can requisition the organs of a poor person on the behalf of a rich person.  Crazy you say?  It’s the same idea.  A woman being required to die to provide life support for another being via her own body, whether she wants to or not with no regard for the damage done to her body is the same as slavery.  This is where the so called ‘pro-life’ people want to take this country.  If one person’s life is determined to be worth more than another’s than that person can decide what happens to the body of the less important person.  That’s their argument at its foundation.


So we have judges locking up innocent women to prevent them from accessing a legal medical procedure.  We also have hospitals in America letting women die because treatment might harm a fetus.  Of course they lose both the woman and the fetus but what do they care?  They exercised their control over that woman and her body.  If she had to die for them to prove their own control and might, so be it.  Yes the latest story is from Ireland but do not think for one minute this has not happened here in the US.  It has and it will.


We also have nurses now organizing so they don’t have to provide medical care but only to women who want or need an abortion.  We already have pharmacists who think they know more than doctors about what medicines women need and for what purposes.  Now nurses too.  If you will not do your job, if you cannot do your job without discriminating against women and lets face this for what it is, power over women, not morality or conscience, it’s bullying when a woman is at her most vulnerable, then you should not be given a job in that field.  These nurses have chosen the wrong career path.  They demonstrably lack compassion.  But they have a belly full of judgmentalism.   

The practical upshot of this is that women cannot trust medical professionals to treat them with their best interests in mind.  No the best we can hope for is that women are vigilant enough to realize that the medical professionals do not care whether women live or die or whether they are traumatized or are in the middle of a crisis they are making worse.  The best women can hope for is to be educated enough to demand proper treatment because the politicians and religious leaders have decided what medical treatments women can have when and how.

This isn’t just about a woman’s right to her own bodily autonomy  this is about a woman’s human rights.  This is about the right wing trying to enslave women and reduce them to nothing more than walking incubators for their rape fantasies.



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Global Warming Is A thing

Posted by on Feb 10, 2013 in Politics, Science | 0 comments

I really hope that we can get through to the traitors in congress who are beholden to big oil and Grover Norquist soon.  Because Global Climate Change is happening and unless we start taking it very seriously we are going to be facing massive and catastrophic changes.  We are staring the end of our way of life in the face.  Now we can either do it in a graceful way, and adapt under our own terms, or we can continue to deny science and the evidence of our own eyes and be forced to adapt rapidly, probably during a crisis and without a safety net.

A recent CBC report on these CryoSat-2 results was blunt: “Arctic ice could vanish in 10 years, scientists warn … Arctic sea ice is melting at a pace so much faster than once thought that the latest projections say it might disappear by as soon as 2022.”

Professor Wadhams, whose predictions of rapid ice loss have so far been among the most accurate, told the Guardian he thinks summer Arctic sea ice could vanish within four years.


Maybe it’s time we stopped pandering to the ultra wealthy who seem to imagine their piles of money will somehow protect and save them when the entire economy crashes and half of Florida is under water.   Maybe it’s time we started thinking about how we as a people, not me as an individual, want to face the future.  This whole, “I got mine, you’re on your own,” attitude is wrong.  It is morally bankrupt, soulless and ethically unsound.  It is short sighted, ignorant and cruel.

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How is it that the ERA has not been ratified yet? How is it that Venezuela is Coming to Our Aid?

Posted by on Feb 10, 2013 in Politics | 0 comments

That is my question today.  How is it possible in the land of the free and the home of the brave that the ERA has not been ratified yet?  How is it possible in a country that was founded on the idea that all men (meaning mankind) are created equal, that women are still second class citizens?  What can we do to change this and treat our women as equal human beings and children of God?  Because no moral, no freedom loving, no Godly nation of any kind can possibly tolerate treating women as less than human.

We don’t want to hear about how other things take precedence over our basic civil and human rights. Give us full legal equality and give it to us now. Put the ERA up for a vote and end the greatest injustice ever swept under the American carpet.

What we can do is contact our government officials.  Becasue, despite the rash of state mandated rape bills making the rounds, we vote and we outnumber the rapists.  We can also contact the president, because although he’s not perfect he is a decent man and is trying to do right by as many people as he can.


I’ll tell you how.  Because religious and republican men both hate and fear  women. 

Fear is why these men “officially” investigate Girl Scouts while perversely shielding child rapists. It’s why they obsess over your “purity.” It’s why they segregate you in public and private spaces. It’s why they instruct girls and boys that girls’ bodies are either shameful and dirty or sacred and belonging to men. Fear motivates them to teach that you pollute others by your very nature. It makes them intent on making sure you stay home and not be fully engaged in the world. It leads them to sanction marriages of 8-year-olds to old men. It convinces them that rape and its consequences are a “gift from God.” It’s why they empower others to stone you to death and disfigure you with acid.


And if this isn’t enough, here’s something that is at once disturbing and funny.   It would seem that the sociopaths and entitled brats who make up the MRA tried to create a thing on twitter the other day to counter #needfeminismbecause hashtag and came up with one of their own that was promptly and creatively hijacked and mocked mercilessly with truth and a bit of bitterness..  Check it out   There are some beauts there.  And the ones that are serious are so misogynistic that they read like parody anyway.


How is it possible that the wealthiest country in the world needs the help of Venezuela to get heating oil to those in need in our own country?  There once was a time when America was strong.  When we donated to the needy and took care of our own.  Now we tell our poor, the working poor who have full time jobs and still need to get food stamps because employers won’t pay them a living wage, tough.

In 2005, a pair of devastating hurricanes, Katrina and Rita, led to dwindling oil supplies and skyrocketing fuel costs. Some of the poorest and most vulnerable Americans, including many elderly people on fixed incomes, found themselves having to choose between heating their homes or providing food, clothing or medicine for themselves and their families. Since that first winter, CITGO has provided 227 million gallons of free heating oil worth an estimated $465 million to an average of 153,000 US households each year. Some 252 Native American communities and 245 homeless shelters have also benefited from the program. This winter, more than 100,000 American families will receive Venezuelan aid. With the US government estimating that households heating primarily with oil will pay $407 (19 percent) more this year than last, the program remains an invaluable helping hand to many needy Americans.

“The CITGO-Venezuela Heating Oil Program has been one of the most important energy assistance efforts in the United States,” CITGO CEO Alejandro Granado said at the Night of Peace Family Shelter in Baltimore, Maryland, where he and Citizens Energy Corporation Chairman Kennedy launched the 2013 program. “This year, as families across the Eastern Seaboard struggle to recover from the losses caused by Hurricane Sandy, this donation becomes even more significant.”

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So tell me again how destroying the middle class makes America great?  We are seeing a point in time where greed and deliberate ignorance are destroying not just the American way of life but also the planet.  The Tea Party states unequivocally they want to destroy our government.  What is unique about America is our form of government.  And yet people vote for this!  It astounds me.

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