We are being governed by fools

Wednesday, 20 September 2017 11:02 pm
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Posted by Fred Clark

Even if your individual self-interest or the interest of your ethnic or religious tribe is the only thing you care about, that self-interest should compel you to ensure equal protection and full accommodation for people with disabilities -- because you could become one of them in the twinkling of an eye.

Ask a Doctor

Tuesday, 19 September 2017 01:00 pm
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Posted by Camille Hahn

On July 12, pediatrician Arthur Lavin woke up at 3 a.m., though he would not be going to work. He put on his white coat and headed from his home in Cleveland to Akron, Ohio, where the doctor boarded a 6 a.m. flight to Washington, D.C. with three of his colleagues. Their destination was an 8:30 a.m. constituents’ open house with Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio)—the only time their senator would speak with them about Trumpcare.

From May 24 to July 28, every Wednesday while the Senate was in session, with just one exception, the remarkable group Lavin co-chairs, Doctors Organized for Health Care Solutions (DOHCS), sent at least two or three doctors to have coffee with the senator. They were that determined to convince the potential swing voter to reject the Senate’s Affordable Care Act repeals. The doctors—women and men from all medical specialties—came armed with real-life testimonials from their own experiences and they brought statistics: The Annals of Internal Medicine and other studies estimate that the mortality rate for those kicked off health insurance is about 1 in 500. For every 20 million people who lose insurance, 40,000 will die—thus the group’s tagline “No American should die for lack of insurance.”

The doctors also believe “No American should go bankrupt for becoming ill,” Lavin says. And as he points out: “I haven’t met anyone who actually disagrees with either of those.”

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Portman did ultimately vote for Trumpcare, but he came out in opposition to at least one version of the bill. Lavin believes DOHCS helped moderate the senator’s stance. The doctors’ visits “softened the ease with which he toed the party line,” Lavin explains. “His speeches on the Senate took a more moderate tone as time went on.”

The Trumpcare fight is just the latest battle DOHCS has waged. Founded by former Cleveland NOW president and Feminist Majority activist Lana Moresky in 2004, the group of around 500 doctors takes on health-care issues through the most vocal and visual means possible. They put on their white coats to attend rallies and marches, to canvass door-to-door for the ACA or for a political candidate, and to meet with legislators and policy advisors.

And, “in an era in which doctors for some reason are getting hives and allergic reactions to the word abortion, we’re not scared to use that word,” Lavin says. Ohio has some of the most draconian anti-abortion laws in the nation. When the group shows up to rallies, when they wear their white coats to the steps of the capitol, they’re “visible in public as doctors, saying this is a medical right and it should not be a political issue,” Lavin says. DOHCS wants Ohio to know that doctors stand up for abortion.

For the doctors in his group, Lavin says, “It’s always been about…really working to see the community not suffer because of the decisions made by its leadership.” He adds, “Here is a profession that literally can’t operate without facts—a surgeon cannot do surgery without factual information… And we’re standing up in an era in which fact is under assault.”

Camille Hahn is the managing editor at Ms.

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Fighting for Their Lives

Wednesday, 20 September 2017 11:23 pm
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Posted by Isel Rivero y Mendez

Eight women camped out this February and March in the Puerta Del Sol, one of Madrid’s busiest squares. They were on a hunger strike, consuming only liquids. By the 21st day, four had been hospitalized, and doctors demanded that the remaining four eat. They refused.

Santi Burgos

This is Asociación Ve-la-luz (See the Light Association), an independent group of women who’ve risked their lives in a tenacious fight against gender violence.

“Each hunger strike takes a toll on our bodies,” says the group’s president, Gloria Vasquez. “Whether we plan more should be answered by those who claim to represent us. Our objective is to break the comfort zone in which society lives.”

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Founded in 2009 and less known outside of the country, See the Light has become an unwelcome gadfly to provincial and national Spanish governments and even to established women’s groups. “Our road has been filled with obstacles not only from the different political parties but also with organizations we thought were fighting for the same goal,” Vasquez says. “We have suffered multiple aggressions typical of the patriarchal system, [to] our personal belongings and property, [as well as] investigations and denunciations.” Vasquez herself has been detained by the police.

The women of See the Light have persisted. For nine years, they’ve been calling for a 25-point comprehensive national law that covers gender-based violence, and demand aid for survivors comparable to that received by victims of terrorism.

The group’s first hunger strike in 2013 in the northern region of Galicia lasted a month and resulted in the establishment of a parliamentary subcommittee to explore gender violence. Subsequent strikes have focused on such different priorities as lack of protection for minors suffering abuse and the absence or minimizing of programs for gender violence. The strikers note that legal definitions of gender-based violence are unclear, and existing and proposed laws lack many procedural steps for prosecution. Laws also omit programs that protect survivors, ensure child support for divorced mothers and aid families in reestablishing their lives.

“Every time a woman tries to escape gender violence, she finds herself trapped—discredited, condemned, ruined,” Vasquez says. “Women sharing custody of their children are especially vulnerable, as abusers perpetuate the violence through the children. Also, when men violate the restraining order, there are no realistic measures to control them or protect the women. In many cases, victims are murdered by husbands or boyfriends; some women have been driven to suicide when the judicial system dismisses their cases.”

On July 28, the government initiated a new law on violence against women. Most of See the Light’s proposals were included, though in a somewhat diluted form. Speaking to the Spanish press, Vasquez said that the group feels satisfied—for now. But they intend to continue their work and to be vigilant regarding transparency of the allotted funds. Vasquez insists, “We will continue the struggle for our lives and for other women’s lives.”

Isel Rivero y Mendez is a Cuban-born poet who who has also worked extensively as an international civil servant. She was previously a political consultant with the U.N.’s Department of Peacekeeping Operations and director of the United Nations Information Centre in Madrid, where she sponsored several activities related to women’s human rights and poetry. She was a contributor to Robin Morgan’s anthology Sisterhood is Global. In 2006, the Spanish Federación de Mujeres Progresistas presented her with the Julia Mayoral Prize for her work for women’s causes.

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Reckoning and Wrecking

Wednesday, 20 September 2017 10:47 pm
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Posted by Elline Lipkin

There should be a word for a book that as soon as you hear about it, you need to get your hands on. It’s the book you’re sure will illuminate something critical about your life; it’s the one that you’re sure will give you a key of sorts, or at least a clear mirror in which to reflect. Maybe it’s even the book you think you should have written. If there is a book that I was sure would fit these categories, it is Claire Dederer’s Love and Trouble: A Midlife Reckoning. Now that I’ve hit my own Gen X middle-ness, and articles about “perennials” have caught my attention, I was positive this book would be not only right up my alley but a path I am also traveling along.

It is—but not in the way I expected. As someone who teaches Girls’ Studies, what fascinated me about Dederer’s book was the way she tries to reconcile the teenage girl she was with the middle-aged woman she has become. The “reckoning” in her subtitle quickly takes on the association of “wrecking”—a theme established early as Dederer tries to work out how the choices she’s made (or passively acceded to, as she often points out) got her to where she is—deep in the morass of midlife stock-taking.

Married for over 15 years, with two kids, and an outwardly comfortable middle-class life, Dederer hauls out a stack of her diaries, starting in early teenhood and ending on the eve of her wedding, to try to construct a through line of her choices, mainly those involving sex. Her writing is vivid and observant with a wry, direct tone. Many of her descriptions made me laugh out loud, such as her description of her therapist: “He had fabulous eyebrows like fronds, or antennae designed to pick up extra psychodata about his client. His hair looks like a cloud that had accidentally landed on his head, and his clothes looked like they’d been put on in the dark.” She experiments with structure throughout the book—borrowing the form of a children’s book for the chapter about her college years in what seems a natural correspondence: “A is for Acid: An Oberlin Abecedarium.” All of this gives the book a playful quality. Yet this sideways-examination seems the only way in which Dederer can just barely face what she is trying to get hold of—understanding the sexual impulses of her teenage and twenty-something self.

As she tries to unearth, Matryoshka-like, the teenage girl buried inside the soon-to-be-fifty-something woman, Dederer often touches back to an incident when she was 13 and her mother’s boyfriend climbed unbidden into her sleeping bag. This trigger to realizing herself as a sexual being catapults her through her teenage years, two failed stints at college, her at-loose-ends and bewildered twenties, including a long sojourn in Australia following an indifferent boyfriend.

Ultimately, it’s the passages about girlhood where Dederer’s self-understanding refracts most sharply, sending out vectors of insight. Her reflections are poignant, and echo strongly the “girl confidence crisis”—moments of realizing the inheritance of a female body means to be lesser than. “The betrayal of the body is every adolescent’s story,” she writes. “In my case, it brought me up against the truth. I would never be my brother, I would never be that special kind of inviolable—just say it, the special kind of superior that boys are. I would be imperfect. I would be a girl. There was no pretending any longer, once the boobs came.” She adulates her older brother, but it’s more than that—the message that being female and the stricture of femininity implies a kind of inferiority, a loss of power, however subliminally, bewilders her, sinks in and attaches to her psyche.

This epiphany, linked to her entrance into puberty, coincides with her serendipitous discovery of the book Taps at Reveille by F. Scott Fitzgerald, published in 1935. Its female protagonist is full of sexual longing and knows that value is conferred through her relationships with boys. How Dederer makes this correspondence to her life in the 1980s is what fascinated me. “I knew a word for what Josephine was: a slut,” she writes, “but of course in her day, they had something nicer: A girl like Josephine was fast or a speed.” Josephine senses power in her ability to attract—as does Dederer—who is left with the more contemporary reckoning of what owning this power means when “slut” is still a word with a dual edge, yet she is free to act on her impulses.

Dederer writes about herself in the third person:

She wanted to be a boy; short of that she wanted to be as close to boys as possible. She utterly rejected the notion she was essentially a girl—worse, a pre-woman. When she turned fifteen, when she truly could no longer deny she was a girl, she developed a new strategy. She wouldn’t be a boy, but she would be as near to boys as she could possibly be. Them inside of her seemed like just about he right proximity.

Her comments, dated from the 70s, seem both fascinatingly and maddeningly pertinent today.

Most revealing to me were the two chapters Dederer writes in the form of a letter to Roman Polanski. Dederer is haunted by an obsession with Polanski’s misdeeds with a teenage girl, which puts it politely. (Crime is another way to put it.) As a grown woman, she can enter this story at multiple points, which seems to be why she keeps returning to it. The girl that Polanski raped could have been the girl that Dederer was. But she also writes from point of view of a mother who has a teenage daughter. Dederer’s projection into Polanski’s point of view is fascinating as she tries, again, to source the central impetus for her years of sexual exploration—a quest that remains fundamentally unanswerable.

Striking throughout Love and Trouble is Dederer’s open admission of wanting to be dominated, or at least passively led, and relieved of the burden of making active choices. In a time of so much general “empowerment” rhetoric—much of which I would label “fauxpowerment”—it was almost refreshing to read about a woman’s desire to stop having to be in charge. It’s not clear in the book if this proclivity is rooted in her sexual inclinations, her inherent nature, or a refusal, however subconscious, to take responsibility for her own destiny. It made me dislike the author on some levels—why can’t she self-direct?—but I had to laud her honesty about wanting a choice that is ultimately about taking her own choices away.

A mysterious chapter towards the end of the book both reveals and conceals simultaneously—is she raped in a hotel room by a stranger? Is it a consensual affair or a fantasy? She refuses to say, but uses the same sleight of hand she needs in other chapters to gesture without claiming—whether this is artful disguise or her inability to stake a claim—it’s impossible to say, but Dederer tries to get as close as she can to what are essentially uncomfortable truths.

Her willingness to implicate herself is notable, particularly as she reveals how much the locus of sex still confuses her, nevermind the onus of femininity and womanhood.

There’s a deeper truth—I’m still freaked out (still!) simply by being a woman. I dress butch: I can barely stand to put on a skirt. It makes me feel like I’m in drag. The trappings of womanhood embarrass me utterly. At the same time I’m riven by my outsize sex drive. I hate being a woman, and yet I yearn to be fucked as a woman. I yearn to be dominated by a figure of incontestable authority, who will make me become what I never wanted to be: a woman. I don’t know how to make myself a woman; you do it for me.

Her honesty is laudable and the knot of entangled identities and power-identification she outlines is fascinating, particularly as she cops to wanting victimhood, or at the very least, the removal of volition. It didn’t make me like Dederer any more as a person, but as a writer she is bold—as simultaneously reckless and fearful as the girl still within.

EllineLipkin

Elline Lipkin is a research scholar with UCLA’s Center for the Study of Women. The author of Girls’ Studies and The Errant Thread, she teaches creative writing in Los Angeles and is active with advocacy groups for girls. 

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Horoscopes

Wednesday, 20 September 2017 10:30 pm
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Posted by Amelia Quint

Illustrations by Esme Blegvad.

Now that school’s back in session, the cosmos deliver a Virgo new moon to transform your daily routine. Perfect timing, right? Making new habits isn’t always easy, but this new moon helps you do it in style.

One of the best things you can do with this vibe is to make new habits. Virgo loves schedules, so use this moon’s energy to revamp your typical day. It’s also the sign of health, so rearranging your life to make sure you’ve got all the essentials covered will work wonders. Details are Virgo’s forte, so little adjustments will go a long way. Maybe it’s time for a new nutrition plan, an exercise accountability partner, or an earlier bedtime!

Mercury, Venus, and Mars will all be in Virgo at the time of the new moon, so what happens now could make you feel a little vulnerable. That’s because, together, these three are known as the personal planets, ruling how you communicate, love, and get things done. When they’re all in Virgo, it can feel like you’re under a relationship microscope. Luckily, the new moon acts as a cosmic reset button for the way you interact with your friends, crushes, and classmates.

If there was to be a problem here, it would be the Virgo new moon square Saturn in Sagittarius causing a clash between your desires for spontaneous adventure and committed accomplishment. What’s more, this aspect means that both Mars and Saturn, the traditionally difficult planets, are in on the new moon action. It’s easy to get distracted by negativity, but under this new moon, there’s plenty of positive things happening too. You just have to look for them!

The trick to dealing with Virgo is knowing that it’s also the sign of service. As long as you’re acting in service of something bigger than yourself (whether it’s a dream, loved one, or cause you care about), you’ll pass this new moon with flying colors.

Aries (March 21–April 19)

Taurus (April 20–May 20)

Gemini (May 21–June 20)

Cancer (June 21–July 22)

Leo (July 23–August 22)

Virgo (August 23–September 22)

Libra (September 23–October 22)

Scorpio (October 23–November 21)

Sagittarius (November 22–December 21)

Capricorn (December 22–January 19)

Aquarius (January 20–February 18)

Pisces (February 19–March 20)

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Posted by Lynn Rosado

The thumbnail of Retro Reports’ mini-doc for The New York Time, “The Fight Over Women’s Bodies,” is a still shot of women dressed in red robes and bonnets a la the concubines in The Handmaid’s Tale protesting proposed cuts to reproductive health funding outside of the National Capitol in Washington.

The scene isn’t set in 1985, when Margaret Atwood’s dystopian novel in which the government strips women of their rights and assumes control over every aspect of their reproductive rights was first released. It’s a photo from this exact year, in which protests across the country have featured gatherings of such handmaids—standing in solemn recognition that the fight for women’s bodily autonomy is more urgent, and Atwood’s warning more timely, than ever.

“We were dealing with a system that was antithetical to getting good medical care and being treated like full human beings,” said Judy Norsigian, co-author of Our Bodies, Ourselves, described in the documentary as “an owner’s manual for women,” says on-screen. Norsigian is referring to the early 1970s, when abortion was illegal in most of the United States. Clips bleed into one another of people marching in the streets to protest the lack of reproductive rights, much like the clips shown early from mere weeks or months before. Norsigian’s landmark book emerged, in part, due to that struggle—the women who helped create Our Bodies “began researching and writing to dispel myths about women’s health and sexuality and to empower women to have agency over their own bodies.” What they wanted to do “was underscore the importance of body knowledge.”

Our Bodies, which was translated into more than 30 languages, was deemed controversial and banned in certain schools and libraries across the country. But the book still set off a revolution, and its radical assertion remains true: “If we’re [going] to be effective players, personally in our lives, politically in the community,” Norsigian says in the video, “we have to be strong in our core, and that comes from understanding how our bodies work.”

Retro Report’s short points out that “a lot of young people are becoming aware as [Norsigian] did in the 1970s, that personal is political.” Shows like The Handmaid’s Tale are at the center of that boom in awareness and activism. Pop culture that zeroes in on how patriarchy and sexism impact women and their communities is undeniably an integral form of protest against the Trump administration’s hard push, according to the documentary, to make the United States a “dystopian future of forced surrogacy and the subjugation of women.”

From the heartbeat bill that anti-abortion lobbyists are floating past the White House, to the administration’s tireless effort to “repeal and replace” the Affordable Care Act, the Trump administration continues to pose and embolden extreme threats to women’s lives and freedoms. In the face of such challenges, Retro Report’s look back reminds us how imperative it is that we fight like hell to move forward—and that the media takes the fight as seriously as we do.

Lynn Rosado is an editorial intern at Ms. She studied at California State University, Northridge, where she received her Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism.

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My Great American Abortion Clinic Family Road Trip

Wednesday, 20 September 2017 09:17 pm
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Posted by Nikki Madsen

My husband, 5-year-old son and I climbed into our SUV and took a road trip this summer. We listened to Bob Dylan’s Highway 61, felt the breeze in our hair and played eye-spy while we watched the landscape change from fields of gold wheat to purple mountains. And we stopped to visit independent abortion care providers along the way.

Feminist Campus organizers and activists at the last independent clinic standing in Mississippi.

Independent abortion providers are like your community’s local independent bookstore or family dentist—the clinic staff know their neighbors, and the care they provide reflects the specific needs of the community. You may be surprised to learn that these clinics provide care to three out of every five women who have an abortion in the United States, making them the most important health professionals you’ve never heard of.

Our first stop was Colorado. Here I met Jen and Sam, a couple who drove one-way more than 15 hours to get abortion care. Why did they travel so far? Previously, they’d been receiving prenatal care from a local Catholic hospital, but that hospital withheld a diagnosis of a fatal fetal heart condition until they were too far along in pregnancy to get an abortion where they lived. The hospital deliberately kept their personal medical information from them in an attempt to coerce Jen into continuing the pregnancy. I was heartbroken to see how they’d been manipulated and denied information and care. At Boulder Abortion Clinic, Jen and Sam met with compassionate health care professionals who gave unbiased information and respected the decision they ultimately made.

Jen and Sam aren’t alone—many women and families come to independent providers for care as pregnancy progresses, often when such care is banned in their home state or not available from other providers. Without independent abortion providers, access to abortion in a clinic setting after 16 weeks would drop by 76 percent.

After many hours of flat lands and bitter battles over playlists—“no, we can’t listen to the Moana soundtrack AGAIN!”— the slopes of the Grand Tetons appeared above the horizon. We made one last stop to allow a herd of Buffalo to cross the road before arriving in Jackson, Wyoming. Here we visited the last remaining abortion provider in the entire state, Emerg-A-Care.

Independent abortion care providers operate the only remaining clinics in five states: Wyoming, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Dakota and West Virginia. In four others—Arkansas, Oklahoma, Georgia and Nevada—they are the only providers of in-clinic abortion care. Without these courageous providers, there would be no real access to abortion across huge swaths of Middle America and the South.

Our final stop was in Missoula, Montana, where we visited the Blue Mountain Clinic–rated by the community as the best clinic in Missoula for 10 years running. During our visit, my husband played with my son in the sunlit waiting room while women, men and children waited for care. Some were there to be treated for a summer cold, others for help managing their diabetes and some to receive abortion care. Many independent abortion providers, like Blue Mountain Clinic, provide a range of care—often to people facing the most barriers to accessing health services.

My road trip was inspiring, but also bittersweet, as I thought of the communities I passed where abortion providers had been shut down. When these clinics are forced to close, communities lose abortion access—and so much more. They lose trusted providers who put their patients’ needs first and treat them with dignity, compassion and respect. And, due to anti-abortion politicians and extremists, these clinics are closing at an alarming rate–with over 145 closures clocked in just the past five years.

Many in this country are understandably concerned about the future of women’s health and rights—and we have to remember the vital role of independent abortion care clinics, like Boulder Abortion Clinic, Emerg-A-Care and Blue Mountain Clinic, and the patients they serve, as we fight on. We must raise awareness about how these clinics contribute to the health and well-being of our communities, and we must act to end politically-motivated bans and restrictions that push abortion out of reach and shut clinics down.

The next time you take a road trip, think about the abortion clinics you pass along the way–those that are providing care and those who’ve been forced to shut their doors. And when you return home, donate or sign-up to volunteer at your local independent abortion provider. Your community needs that clinic.

Nikki Madsen is the Executive Director of Abortion Care Network. ACN is a national member-based organization dedicated to supporting independent abortion care providers and their allies. 

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Kazakhstan goes Latin

Wednesday, 20 September 2017 03:17 pm
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Posted by Victor Mair

Excerpts from "Kazakhstan: Latin Alphabet Is Not a New Phenomenon Among Turkic Nations", by Uli Schamiloglu (a professor in the Department of Kazakh Language and Turkic Studies at Nazarbayev University in Astana, Kazakhstan), EurasiaNet (9/15/17):

Kazakhstan’s planned transition to the Latin alphabet raises complex questions. While alphabets may not be important in and of themselves, they play an important role in helping define a nation’s place in the world.

As a Turkologist, I regularly teach a range of historical Turkic languages using the runiform Turkic alphabet, the Uyghur alphabet, the Arabic alphabet and others. Turkologists also study various Turkic languages written in the Syriac alphabet, the Armenian alphabet, the Hebrew alphabet, the Greek alphabet and others.

Stated briefly, you can use a lot of different alphabets to write Turkic languages. From a technical point of view, it is just a question of how accurately any particular alphabet represents speech sounds.

The classic version of the Arabic alphabet — with additional letters introduced for Persian — does not represent the vowels of Turkic languages accurately. Nevertheless, it was used successfully for Chagatay Turkic in Central Asia and Ottoman Turkish in the Ottoman Empire until the early 20th century. In the late 19th century and early 20th century, innovations were introduced to represent vowels more accurately, and this is certainly the case with the reformed Arabic alphabet used currently for Uyghur.

Using the Latin alphabet to represent Turkish languages is not a new phenomenon. The alphabet was used to write the Codex Cumanicus in a dialect of Kipchak Turkic in the early 14th century. More recently, Turkey adopted one version of the Latin alphabet beginning in 1928, as did Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan from 1991, and Uzbekistan in 2001, following the collapse of the Soviet Union.

We should also recall that in the early Soviet period most of the Turkic languages of the union shared a common Latin alphabet — the so-called Yangälif — beginning in 1926. But this alphabet was soon superseded by individual Cyrillic-based alphabets that were different from each other.

There are several linguistic factors supporting Kazakhstan’s planned switch to the Latin alphabet. One, of course, is that the Latin alphabet is familiar to a far larger number of educated persons than the Cyrillic alphabet. It is also used widely for communication over the internet and cellular telephones.

It is now official policy in Kazakhstan to promote three languages through the educational system — namely Kazakh, Russian and English. I think it is well documented by now that the Russian-speaking space is in decline throughout the former territories of the Soviet Union. But Kazakhstan, like Tatarstan, is so strongly bilingual that I am not worried so much that the use of Russian will decline in Kazakhstan any time soon. The real challenge is to make sure that Kazakh becomes viable as the official language of Kazakhstan.

Unlike in Turkey, or say Uzbekistan, Kazakh has a long way to go before it becomes the default language of choice among citizens of Kazakhstan.

The entire article is fascinating and well worth reading, not just by linguists, but also by political scientists, social scientists, and cultural historians.  The only thing I would add is that the movement toward the adoption of the Latin alphabet among modern Turkic-speaking peoples began in 1928 with its promotion by Mustafa Kemal Atatürk (1881-1938), the founder of the Republic of Turkey.

[h.t. Jichang Lulu]

Can Mormons Be Christians?

Wednesday, 20 September 2017 01:16 pm
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Posted by Roger E. Olson

Can Mormons Be Christians? For me, there is no simple answer to that question. I cannot give an unequivocal “yes” or “no.” I know that really bothers a lot of people. There are some who want me to say “yes”—without qualification and embrace Mormons as fellow Christians. There are those who want me to say […]
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Posted by Richard Beck

Let's take a couple posts to note how salvation is equated with the Holy Spirit in the New Testament.

The basic thesis for this post is easily stated: In the gospels and Acts salvation is equated with receiving the Holy Spirit.

That might seem to be an obvious point, but let it sink in. Salvation in the gospels and Acts isn't associated with the atonement. Salvation is associated with being given the Holy Spirit.

In the gospels this association is most clearly seen in John:
John 3.5-8
Jesus answered [Nicodemus], “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.”
Being saved is being "born again" in a mystical, spiritual, metaphysical sense. Simply: "That which is born of the Spirit is spirit." In John 6.63 Jesus says, "It is the Spirit that gives life."

Salvation is life, and the Spirit is what gives us life.

The Synoptic gospels are less mystical when it comes to the Spirit, but they agree with John that the coming of the kingdom is associated with the advance of the Spirit.

John the Baptist declares, “I have baptized you with water, but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit."

Jesus' ministry of exorcism is viewed in the Synoptics as the Holy Spirit reclaiming enemy-held territory:
Matthew 12.22-28
Then a demon-oppressed man who was blind and mute was brought to him, and he healed him, so that the man spoke and saw.

And all the people were amazed, and said, “Can this be the Son of David?” But when the Pharisees heard it, they said, “It is only by Beelzebul, the prince of demons, that this man casts out demons.”

Knowing their thoughts, he said to them, “Every kingdom divided against itself is laid waste, and no city or house divided against itself will stand. And if Satan casts out Satan, he is divided against himself. How then will his kingdom stand? And if I cast out demons by Beelzebul, by whom do your sons cast them out? Therefore they will be your judges. But if it is by the Spirit of God that I cast out demons, then the kingdom of God has come upon you."
In Acts 1 and 2 the church--the community of the saved--is established at Pentecost by the pouring out of the Holy Spirit. In Acts 10 the mission to the Gentiles is inaugurated when the Holy Spirit falls upon Cornelius and his household.

In fact, the entire book of Acts is simply the story of how the Spirit that filled Jesus now fills and guides the church. The Spirit is the hero of the book of Acts. How a person stands in relation to the Spirit in the book of Acts tells us how they stand in relation to salvation, the church, and the advancing kingdom of God.

So the main point: in the gospels and the book of Acts salvation is described as receiving the Holy Spirit
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Posted by Libby Anne

A recent blog post titled “Do You See Me?” is making the rounds in the survivor community. In it, “Jane” tells her story of being drugged and raped while studying at The Master’s College in California. Here is a section from the end of the post, where Jane returns to the school to find out what […]

They call the wind 'Maria'?

Wednesday, 20 September 2017 07:59 am
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Posted by Geoffrey K. Pullum

I hope you appreciate the wisdom of the new policy on naming hurricanes that was announced here on September 11. The latest brutal storm to devastate the islands of the eastern Caribbean would not have been named for the mother of Jesus; it would have been named "Hurricane Malaria." That's more like it. Nasty names for nasty stuff. You know it makes sense.

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Posted by Lynn Rosado

Included among the historic wins at this year’s Emmy Awards was a healthy dose of political commentary, a lot of which took aim at President Donald Trump. Our favorite of the latter, by far, happened during the on-stage reunion of “9 to 5″ stars Lily Tomlin, Jane Fonda and Dolly Parton—who starred, in the 1980 film, as disgruntled female employees who band together to exact revenge on their male chauvinist boss.

When the iconic trio took the stage to present the award for Best Supporting Actor in a Limited Series or Movie, Fonda and Tomlin took the lead on commemorating its lasting—and, unfortunately, ever-more relevant, underlying message. “Back in 1980, in that movie,” Fonda said, “we refused to be controlled by a sexist, egotistical, lying, hypocritical bigot.”

Tomlin replied: “And in 2017, we still refuse to be controlled by a sexist, egotistical, lying, hypocritical bigot.”

(Surprisingly, as of Tuesday, the President had not yet replied to the speech on Twitter.)

Lynn Rosado is an editorial intern at Ms. She studied at California State University, Northridge, where she received her Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism.

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The post We Heart: Lily Tomlin and Jane Fonda’s Message to Donald Trump appeared first on Ms. Magazine Blog.

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Posted by Taliah Mancini

In a investigative report on Rewire, Ally Boguhn exposes Samuel McLure—an adoption lawyer and anti-choice activist who hopes to secure the Republican nomination for attorney general in Alabama and make it “hell on earth” for abortion providers.

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Detailing both McLure’s history of targeting abortion providers on social media as well as his plan to prosecute them for murder if elected, Boguhn writes:

He [McLure] claimed that the attorney general could end legal abortion by enforcing current laws and regulations, suggesting that the office should create a task force to investigate whether providers in the state are complying.

McLure went on to say that the second way an attorney general could end legal abortion would be to “work with the legislature of Alabama to remove the abortion exception from the homicide statute.” The state’s fetal homicide law currently defines a person as “an unborn child in utero at any stage of development, regardless of viability” except when it comes to abortion. 

In another video posted to his Facebook page on July 25, McLure says that it is the state’s attorney general job “to make it hell on earth” for abortion providers.

His plan to do so? A state militia defending the policy:

During an address to the Alabama Constitution Party’s summer meeting, McLure argued that should anti-choice activists control the state government, they could effectively end legal abortion in the state no matter what courts decided on the issue. He added that a state militia could be used to defend the policy.

“Alabama needs to take the second amendment seriously …. A well-regulated militia is necessary for the protection of a free state,” said McLure at the event. “Where is Alabama’s militia? If the governor or attorney general of our state defied the federal government and said ‘We’re going to protect babies from murder,’ and some federal law enforcement officer tried to drag our governor into a federal jail, who will protect our governor?”

“A true Alabamian gives up his freedom only at the cost of his life,” he later added, adapting an inscription on a Scottish monument.”

McLure’s desire to prosecute abortion providers is a call to further militarize the state in hopes of controlling reproduction. This platform translates directly into women’s lived experiences, because anti-choice rhetoric has dangerous ramifications: A recent study found that women and children are more likely to experience negative health outcomes in states with higher numbers of anti-abortion laws, while yet another found that severe anti-abortion violence and threats of violence against women’s health clinics have skyrocketed to the highest levels recorded since 1995. These parallel truths—that attacks on abortion are attacks on women’s health, and that those attacks are more and more common—are cause for alarm.

Attacks on abortion rights by politicians like McLure put abortion providers, women and children at risk. In the context of Alabama’s history of hostility towards pro-choice legislation, these kinds of attacks make McLure—and anti-choice advocates like him—a particularly tangible threat.

You can read Boghun’s full piece here.

Taliah Mancini is an editorial intern at Ms.

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The post Alabama Attorney General Candidate Wants to Use a State Militia to End Legal Abortion appeared first on Ms. Magazine Blog.

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