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WASHINGTON — Vice President Dick Cheney's daughter Mary delivered an 8-pound, 6-ounce baby boy on Wednesday, the first child for her and her female partner of 15 years, Heather Poe.

Samuel David Cheney was born at 9:46 a.m. at Sibley Hospital in Washington, the vice president's office announced. Vice President Cheney and his wife, Lynne, paid a visit to their new — and sixth — grandchild a few hours later.

Gay Patriot bloggers weigh in:

I'm not going to get political here, just wishing all the best to Mary, Heather, and Samuel David. And let's keep working together for equality and fairness for all families.

PS - And the first person who makes a wisecrack about the previous post is gonna get banned in about a half a heartbeat!
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Freedom For Egyptians:
I do not know why Global Voices is insisting on referring to me as "He writes" here and here. I am a very proud "She":) I resent the treatment of being reduced to a "He" with all due respect to all the "He"s ..... Just a remark, because every time I read "He writes", I laugh......

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Zilla Huma Usman, the minister for social welfare in Punjab province and an ally of President Pervez Musharraf, was killed as she was about to deliver a speech to dozens of party activists, by a “fanatic”, who believed that she was dressed inappropriately and that women should not be involved in politics, officials said.

“He is basically a fanatic,” Raja Basharat, the Punjab Law Minister, said. “He is against the involvement of women in politics and government affairs.” A police statement added: “He considers it contrary to the teachings of Allah for a woman to become a minister or a ruler. That’s why he committed this action.”

HT: [ profile] kc_anathema.
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Even more astonishing, Iran's new Islamic-guided government has established a system of legalized prostitution, through the practice of "sigheh" or "temporary marriages," by which a Mullah arranges a "legal union" between a man and a girl (some as young as 9 years old) for a fee. The so called "marriage" can last anywhere from one hour to 99 years. Under this system, the men are free to enter into as many temporary marriages as they so desire, without having ANY legal obligation or responsibility towards the women and children that they "marry" only to use as sexual objects and slaves.

Not surprisingly, this legalized system of slavery and oppression has led to a growing sex-trafficking industry that is partially operated by government officials and Mullahs themselves. ...
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Via Big Pharaoh, at MEMRI-TV. Big Pharaoh says -
American-Israeli Friendship Association — very possible. Egyptian-Israeli Friendship Association —- hard but not impossible Sudanese-Israeli Friendship Association — Now that's impossible, but it happened.
Here's a snippet of the interview transcript:
Interviewer: Do you have any popular or official mandate to establish the Sudanese-Israeli Friendship Association, or is this your own personal initiative?

Taraji Mustafa: First of all, I do not need a mandate to talk about my personal beliefs, or those of some of the Sudanese people. None of the Sudanese friendship associations, like the Sudanese-Indian or the Sudanese-Swedish associations, and many others, needed a popular mandate. Why do I need a mandate to establish a friendship [association] with that part of the Israeli people that believes in friendship?

Interviewer: Would you agree that your comparison with the Sudanese-Indian friendship association and others is not appropriate in the case of Israel, in light of the Israeli-Arab conflict?

Taraji Mustafa: This question takes us back to another issue: Are the Sudanese Arab or not? Does membership in the Arab League mean Arab identity? In my opinion, despite all the years that have passed since we joined the Arab League and since we gained independence, we have failed, or rather, the Arab brothers have failed in making us feel we are Arab brothers. There has always been a stereotypical view of the Sudanese people... yes?

Interviewer: Did you examine the Sudanese public opinion before initiating this idea, this association, for you to be so confident in what you are saying?

Taraji Mustafa: I am talking about a very large sector of the Sudanese people. I am talking about awareness among the Sudanese intellectuals. I am talking about those Sudanese who had the opportunity to encounter the outside world, and I am talking about studies conducted among students. I did not have to feel the pulse of the Sudanese people. There are studies conducted at universities regarding the Sudanese people's readiness to establish relations with the Israeli people.

Interviewer: You founded this association in Canada. Would you agree with those who say that this diminishes its credibility, because such a step should have been carried out in Sudan, in order to have any credibility?

Taraji Mustafa: Not at all, because Sudan is currently ruled by an oppressive government. We Sudanese are prevented from even talking about our dreams, so how do you expect any association to be registered in Sudan today?

You are more familiar than me with the regime...

Whooooooo! One of many reasons I want to learn Arabic. This woman is another.
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Via Pooja at The Muslim Woman:
The all time controversial Women Protection Bill, which was signed into law last month under the regime of Musharraf has not been welcomed by thousands of Islamic people. They came out with a rally in Karachi to show their objection towards the bill. Nearly, 10,000 supporters of the Islamist parties, chanted slogans of ‘Down with Musharraf’ and ‘Down with the Women Protection Law’ at the rally and demanded the government scrap the law. The law takes the crime of rape out of the sphere of the religious laws, known as the Hudood Ordinances, and puts it under the penal code. Under the Hudood Ordinances, a raped victim was only offered justice if she would be able to produce four male witness otherwise she would have to face the charges of treachery.
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The Muslim Woman:
Even today, Iranian women are not allowed to enter the stadiums like the male counterparts.

Though President Mahmoud Ahmedinejad announced formally that the ban on women watching soccer has been lifted, he immediately had to take back his words because some of the leading clerics resented his decision, thereby pouring water on the beaming hope of thousands of female fans.

However, one thing is worth mentioning here that the taboo that had been in vogue since time immemorial regarding the non-existence of women soccer players is at last broken.

The Iran women’s football team has taken the first step towards glory by playing their first open-air football game against a foreign team.
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SF writer and astrophysicist Jeanne Cavelos writes:
Against a background of stars and X-wing fighters, Luke holds his
lightsaber aloft while Leia crouches below him, brandishing a gun: two
tough heroes ready to fight the evil Empire. In my love of Star Wars, I
spent endless hours longing for 'a galaxy far, far away,' replaying the
movie in my head, studying every detail of the poster on my wall. It seemed
to embody the excitement of the movie and its strong heroes, Luke and Leia.
But as the Star Wars saga unfolded, I became troubled. While George Lucas
brilliantly combined diverse ideas and influences to create something
startling and inspiring, one aspect of the movies didn't live up to the
rest. I began to notice something new about the poster on my wall. Luke
above, superior; Leia below, inferior. It seemed to reflect the treatment
of the characters in the movies. The problem is not that the women are
supporting characters, though they are. Even a supporting character can be
striking and compelling. Han Solo is such a powerful, heroic figure, he
nearly eclipses Luke. But the women in Star Wars are not the memorable
figures they could be. Compared to their male counterparts, they are
inconsistent and underdeveloped. There is a clear lack of focus on these
characters on the part of George Lucas and the other writers, a tendency to
sacrifice the female characters to make the males look better, and a decided
inclination to reduce initially powerful women to inaction and irrelevance.
Leia and Amidala, as the two most prominent female figures in the films,
exemplify these weaknesses.

- "Stop Her, She's Got a Gun! How the Rebel Princess and the Virgin Queen
Became Marginalized and Powerless in George Lucas' Fairy Tale"
essay in STAR WARS ON TRIAL edited by David Brin and Matthew Woodring Stover
BenBella Books--FORTHCOMING June 2006
US $17.95/Canada $24.95
ISBN 1-932100-89-X

Jeanne Cavelos is the author of (inter alia) the Techno-Mage books, based on the Babylon 5 TV series. These are among my favorite works of recent science fiction: dramatically and morally complex, and very disturbing, but ultimately hopeful. I'll be looking forward to reading Cavelos' essay in the book when it comes out.
  • Jeanne Cavelos homepage

  • Cross-posted at
  • Dreams Into Lightning
  • .
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    A friend's fascination with the character of River in the movie "Serenity" got me thinking. Because River isn't really a hero through most of the movie, or a warrior; she's controlled by forces outside of herself. She spends the first part of the movie hiding from her warrior side, and in fear of it. It's only at the end - when she can confront that side of herself - that she can use her abilities to fight evil and protect the rest of the crew of Serenity.

    This internal transformation is mirrored on a macroscopic scale by the movie's premise. It was the quest for a utopia - specifically, a world free of violence and aggression - that led to the invention of the aptly-named drug Pax. The drug caused most people to lose the will to live - while in a small minority, it had an opposite, and even worse, effect. Mal must force his crew, in the most horrifying way imaginable, to mingle with that banished, evil side.

    And come to think of it, isn't it strange how River's name sounds so much like the word "Reaver"?

    Aggression and conflict are part of our reality. There is conflict in our world, there is aggression in our nature. We don't get a choice in this. What we do get to choose is how to handle these things. We can run from them and drive them underground; or we can acknowledge them and work with them responsibly.

    If we refuse to acknowledge the dark side of ourselves, we are only inviting it to do us harm. To embrace it is to learn true power, and humility, and wholeness.

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