A video in which I think out loud about what it means to be human, and talk a little about the story I’m trying to write.

This video was inspired by a contest organized by the Big History Project. You can win $5,000 and a contract to make videos for Big History (they are great to work with) by submitting your own video on the topic. Entry form, rules, and contest details can be found at:

In Their Hands: In Support of Steven Wise is a very meaningful post I wrote yesterday in support of the legal work of Steven Wise on behalf of captive chimpanzees in NY. I would be very grateful if you might click through and take a look. If you are at all moved by the photos, please help circulate. Much obliged.

“It is through their hands that I try to know them–their emotion, power, strength, intelligence, desire, anger, curiosity and humour. It all flows from those muscular hands; life lines traversing palms, agile fingers with knuckles creased and cracked, dried cuticles edging smooth nails. So full of power and emotion; they reach, hold, throw and touch. Smooth and dark, with movements that are fine-tuned and precise. With those wonderful hands, they ask. They give. They receive. Sometimes gentle, sometimes urgent–always expressive. It is not that their hands are so much like mine that captivates me, it is that mine are so much like theirs.”

Wacktivist devil: Ban breastfeeding in public, because it promotes ‘gay pride’
August 19, 2014

A conservative activist in Ohio is attempting to ban female toplessness including breastfeeding, because it promotes “gay pride”.

Patrick Johnson, director of anti-abortion group Personhood Ohio, is urging for people to contact state lawmakers to call for a blanket ban on female nudity.

His church group, which frequently protests against strip clubs, was recently confronted with bad-ass counter-protesters in favor of the women’s right to choose what work they did.

He told ABC: “I think when we allow women to flaunt their sexuality to the public, flaunt their nudity to the public, it’s harmful to marriage.

“I am sick that women can legally bare their breasts to children and to married men against their will in Ohio.

“What they did was an offense to God, was an offense to the public morality, and the legislature should act to criminalize what they did.”

He added on Facebook: “The gay pride parade in Columbus is 500,000 strong – why? Because the women go topless. This is the only one where I’ve seen this level of nudity.

“[In] San Francisco, Chicago, Washington, D.C, I have never seen the kind of public lewdness I have seen in Columbus, Ohio.”

“Please call or Email your state senator and state reps to urge them to ban public nudity.

The Aiken Area Progressive blog warns: “This is a no-exceptions ban that if enacted, will drop the number of states to 49 in which breastfeeding is legal, and, if enacted, this definitely will violate numerous Constitutional amendments.”


An exemplary example of evil, internalized patriarchy. He actually thinks women’s breastfeeding is about assaulting him and other ‘innocent married men’. 

Personhood Ohio contact

This is scary stuff.

When it comes to politicians imposing their own extreme beliefs on every person in America and taking away their ability to make their own decisions, personhood is as bad as it gets. But the worst part: with five of the Extreme Six supporting personhood, bills like these could actually pass.

Read more here.

It baffles me how many people are content to say that personhood is only a legal definition, nothing more. If the government doesn’t recognize some individuals as people, that’s fine, as long as they get rights. It doesn’t occur to them that allowing this to go on could eventually strip them of their rights.

In the end, there are really only two possible truths:

1) Personhood is a completely arbitrary term. We can pick and choose which humans are recognized as people because ultimately, personhood is an illusion and none of us matter.


2) All human beings have intrinsic personhood because all of us matter.

Babies Learn to Recognize Words in the Womb

Be careful what you say around a pregnant woman. As a fetus grows inside a mother’s belly, it can hear sounds from the outside world—and can understand them well enough to retain memories of them after birth, according to new research.

It may seem implausible that fetuses can listen to speech within the womb, but the sound-processing parts of their brain become active in the last trimester of pregnancy, and sound carries fairly well through the mother’s abdomen. “If you put your hand over your mouth and speak, that’s very similar to the situation the fetus is in,” says cognitive neuroscientist Eino Partanen of the University of Helsinki. “You can hear the rhythm of speech, rhythm of music, and so on.”

the full article:
Ted Cruz 'Enthusiastically' Backs Radical Anti-Abortion, Anti-Contraception Personhood Proposal
In a video message released ahead of the South Carolina presidential primary yesterday, Sen. Ted Cruz repeated his support for radical fetal “personhood” measures that would criminalize all abortions and even threaten some forms of birth control by granting full constitutional rights to zygotes.

In a video message released ahead of the South Carolina presidential primary yesterday, Sen. Ted Cruz repeated his support for radical fetal “personhood” measures that would criminalize all abortions and even threaten some forms of birth control by granting full constitutional rights to zygotes.

Cruz has previously pledged to back personhood measures, even going so far as to claim that legal personhood for fetuses could “absolutely” be established without a constitutional amendment or a Supreme Court decision overturning Roe v. Wade.

In his video message, Cruz praised South Carolina Republicans for passing a nonbinding resolution in support of a state constitutional amendment to institute fetal personhood.

“I enthusiastically support that resolution,” he said, “and, as president of the United States, I pledge to you that I will do everything within my power to end the scourge of abortion once and for all, that I will use the full constitutional power and the bully pulpit of the presidency to promote a culture of life, that I will sign any legislation put on my desk to defend the least of these, including legislation that defends the right of all persons, without exception other than the life of the mother from conception to natural death.”

Cruz also vowed to defund and investigate Planned Parenthood and appoint Supreme Court justices who would be “the critical deciding votes to finally overturn Roe v. Wade.”

In the video, the Texas Republican senator also tried to link the issue of abortion rights to other matters that are important to GOP voters, claiming that any candidate who supports abortion rights doesn’t believe in God and thus will also raise taxes.

“If a politician will rob a fellow person of their right to life, rest assured they’ll rob you of your private property rights, religious liberty, and look for new taxes and regulations to rob you of your hard-earned money as well,” he said.

“Liberty isn’t safe in the hands of a politician who doesn’t hold all life sacred,” he warned. “For anyone that doesn’t hold life sacred can’t possibly know what true liberty is or where true liberty comes from. Because the spirit of true American liberty comes from the Creator, in whose image we are fearfully and wonderfully made.”


h/t: Miranda Blue at RWW

Sonograms distort reality in a subtle way: You can only take a picture of the embryo/fetus if you erase the body of the pregnant woman. As with the famous optical illusion of the duck-rabbit, you can’t see them both at the same time. In a sonogram the fetus is the subject, the woman is the background; the case for its personhood is made by turning her into gray-and-white wallpaper.
—  Katha Pollitt, Pro: Reclaiming Abortion Rights