A few stories I’ve recently blogged about have some updates:
Yesterday, I wrote about a woman who was forced to undergo a painful process of removing her nipple piercings before she could board a plan, apparently for the amusement of the male security officers. The TSA has responded to the situation:
The TSA said Friday in a statement on its Web site that the officers properly followed procedures, but that the procedures must change. In the future passengers can either allow a visual inspection of their piercings, or remove them, the agency said.
The statement stopped short of apologizing to Hamlin.
”TSA acknowledges that our procedures caused difficulty for the passenger involved and regrets the situation in which she found herself,” the agency said in a statement. ”We appreciate her raising awareness on this issue and we are changing the procedures to ensure that this does not happen again.”
Hamlin’s attorney said she accepted the TSA statement as an apology, and commended the agency for taking quick action. The policy change is ”an achievement for the protection of passengers’ civil rights while meeting the security goals of the TSA,” Gloria Allred said.
Uh huh. Well call me difficult to please (you wouldn’t be the first), but I do find it a little odd how the TSA website already said prior to this statement that “If you are selected for additional screening, you may ask to remove your body piercing in private as an alternative to a pat-down search.” A pat-down search was never offered to Hamlin, and was in fact refused to her when she made the offer herself to show her nipple piercings to the female guard in private — the same guard who had to look at her piercings anyway as Hamlin went through the excruciating process of removing them. So I think that TSA will have to try again. Changing a policy is totally different from beginning to enforce one that is already in place. It was previously indicated that Hamlin was considering suing if she did not receive an apology. I think that it will be a shame if a lawsuit doesn’t go through, and after all of the trouble, TSA gets off the hook with a slight wag of the finger.
I’ve also recently blogged about how Al Sharpton and the NAACP are supporting leniency for the Dunbar Village rapists. Now, Sharpton’s organization (NAN) and the NAACP are furiously denying, changing their stories and pointing fingers at each other. Sharpton has tried to rewrite history and is blaming the “misinformation” on the women of color bloggers who have raised awareness and interest about this issue, without noting that the information came from numerous objective and mainstream news sources. In other words, he’s not only ignoring the fact that women of color deserve rights equal to those of men of color, but is now also blaming his own disgusting mess on women of color rather than taking responsibility for his actions. Nice. Also, while reviewing the denials and backpedaling, check out this flier. There doesn’t seem to be any evidence of who produced it, but according the the Dunbar Village blog, it was passed around at the NAN and NAACP join press conference on March 11. And even if they didn’t produce the fliers themselves, the fact remains that putting together an event with this type of bullshit propaganda being openly distributed isn’t exactly the best way to prove that you’re not supporting the rapists (and neither is standing on a stage with the rapists’ families).
I, and just about every other feminist blogger under the sun, have blogged about the extreme sexual violence taking place in the Congo. A new Guardian Weekly story reports that little has changed, and it’s a very difficult but good article. It may seem like the same message that we’ve heard a million times before, but since nothing is different it clearly bears repeating.
A few months back, I wrote about a new scheme that would institute a $5 tax on all strip club patrons, with the money going to victims of sexual violence, and my reservations about the idea despite it looking like a good idea at first glance. The tax went into effect in January, but a judge has just ruled that it is unconstitutional because it violates First Amendment rights. As someone who was not a fan of the tax for reasons both ideological and practical, I never did and still don’t really buy the First Amendment argument, since we add extra taxes to many products and services that society frowns upon. And I still think that it should go without saying that something can be both constitutional and a bad idea.
In news closer to (my) home:
My asshole of a congressman, Thomas Reynolds, is resigning from office at the end of the year. I’ve been itching to get rid of this guy for some time now. You should see the condescending letters I get back from his office on just about everything:
“Thank you for your remarks on children’s health. But here is why you are wrong and children do not deserve health care. I will keep your thoughts in mind as this issue progresses.”
“Thank you for your remarks on contraception. But here is why you are wrong and poor women do not deserve subsidized birth control, though I also oppose government funded abortions and increasing public assistance for low-income women when they have children. I will keep your thoughts in mind as this issue progresses.”
“Thank you for your remarks on the cuteness of kittens. But here is why you are wrong and all kittens should be drowned. I will keep your thoughts in mind as this issue progresses.”
Anyway, the Republicans were surprised by the announcement, are not particularly pleased, and are scrambling because Reynolds was expected to face a tough reelection. The Dems actually have a shot at this one.
And in other news, a man from my hometown — and who was briefly my husband’s boss(!!!) — was apparently arrested recently by the F.B. Fucking I. for child porn charges. Yes, I’ve verified the story through a local newspaper. And we’re not not just talking possession. He’s also accused of distribution, and the charges carry a minimum sentence of five years. Good times.