New Clear Vision


constructive commentary for the chronically farsighted


War of Words

March 21, 2012 By: NCVeditor Category: Culture, Nancy Mattina, Politics

No Waging It in My Name, Thanks

by Nancy Mattina

I filter the world’s doings through my inbox for several hours a day in the safety of my home office. When my eyes tire or my lower back starts to ache, I get up to stretch and make a cup of tea. The dog might signal that she needs a walk. If not, there’s the radio to turn on, tuned unwaveringly for years now to the nearest public radio station. Another stream of words, this time flavored by audible voices, pours in through my ears. I can turn the sound off with a flick of the remote. Even so the words and phrases I’ve let in through this typical morning toss in my mind like sneakers clunking in the dryer.

This week the thunk, thunk is the “Republican War on Women.” I’m a woman, so it catches my attention, as it’s meant to. (more…)

Women’s History, and Present

March 19, 2012 By: NCVeditor Category: Culture, Family, Jennifer Browdy, Politics

If Not You, Who? If Not Now, When?

by Jennifer Browdy de Hernandez

Was it coincidence that on International Women’s Day 2012, Earth was bombarded by one of the most intense solar flares ever? Could it be that the Sun was urging us on, sending us the pulse of a solar storm to motivate us to action?

March is Women’s History Month, and always prompts me to reflect on where we’ve come in the past year, and where we need to go as women, and as a society.

For one thing, I am tired of women being held hostage on the basis of their reproductive capabilities.

Yes, we are the ones who bear the babies after sex.

Sex happens and we love it.

Babies happen, too.

If a woman doesn’t want to bear the baby that takes root after sex, she has every right to decide what to do about it. (more…)

Sister, You’re an Addict

March 16, 2012 By: NCVeditor Category: Culture, Family, Mary Sojourner

Empowerment Is Not Spelled C-R-A-Z-Y B-U-S-Y

by Mary Sojourner

In the early Seventies, I was the divorced working mother of three kids, a community activist, peacenik, teacher — and a fool for weak men. In those days, Redbook magazine ran short stories by women, about women, for women. One night after kids and boyfriend were tucked in bed, my ad for the food co-op written, my lesson plan for my next class written and I was too wired to sleep, I opened Redbook. By the time I finished that month’s story, I knew sleep would be possible. And that I was neither depressed nor crazy — I was exhausted.

The writer had taken me through a day in the life of a dead woman who did not have time to die. The young wife and mother suffered a fatal stroke as she was racing up the stairs with three bags of groceries so she could start dinner, clean the apartment, stuff dirty laundry in a bag to take to the laundry and get to the school to pick up her kids. She knew she was dead. And, she had to keep going. (more…)

Ultrasounds

March 13, 2012 By: NCVeditor Category: Culture, Current Events, Michael N. Nagler, Politics

Morality Is Too Important to Be Left to Politicians

by Michael N. Nagler

Coming as it did in time for International Women’s Day, the decision of legislators in Virginia, to require women seeking an abortion to undergo a vaginal probe and see ultrasound images of their unborn infants has aroused considerable outrage.  And controversy.

Some (mostly Democrats) see it as an invasion of women’s privacy, if not technically a kind of rape, while others (mostly Republicans) say, with the conservative Family Research Council President Tony Perkins, “This law is a victory for women and their unborn children. We thank Gov. McDonnell and Virginia’s pro-life legislators for their work to ensure that women have all the facts and will no longer be kept in the dark about their pregnancies.”

I have a modest proposal that would resolve the issue.  (more…)

Inside This Place

March 09, 2012 By: NCVeditor Category: Family, Politics, Victoria Law

Oral History Collection Gives Voice to Incarcerated Women

by Victoria Law

The new book Inside This Place, Not of It: Narratives from Women’s Prisons (McSweeney’s, 2011), edited by Robin Levi and Ayelet Waldman, delves into injustices inside women’s prisons through firsthand accounts from the women themselves. These are painful stories. Many are tales of violence and abuse, most often from family and loved ones. Some are stories of parents who, at best, were not emotionally present for their children; at worst, they not only abused their daughters but allowed others to abuse them in exchange for drugs. There are stories of addiction. These stories are intense and, even though I am well-acquainted with prison horror stories, I needed to put the book down, several times. And then there are the stories from within the prison, which often repeats and exacerbates the horrors the women encountered before their arrests.

These stories illustrate the myriad ways that prisons attempt to erase their personhood: One woman entered prison while pregnant; because her due date fell on a holiday weekend, medical staff forced her into a Caesarean section. She was handcuffed throughout the surgery; she held her newborn for the first time while in cuffs. Another woman was given a hysterectomy without her knowledge or consent. Others discuss the lack of medical care, ranging from the lack of a diabetic diet to staff withholding necessary medications. Women’s humanity is assaulted in other ways as well: In 2010, Colorado prison staff instituted a demeaning search procedure known as the “labia lift” (p. 158): “We had to spread our labia and staff would make us cough while they were looking.” (more…)

Occupy Prisons

February 14, 2012 By: NCVeditor Category: Politics, Victoria Law

‘We Must Not Turn Our Backs on Each Other…’

by Victoria Law

“Manhandled, arrested, cuffed, searched, and locked away in the Tombs” is how AlterNet described the story of protester Barbara Schneider Reilly, who spent 30 hours in jail after being arrested at an Occupy Wall Street-related protest in October 2011.

Reilly reported: “During the long, cold night in the Tombs, at some point we asked a female officer if we could have some blankets. ‘We have no blankets.’ Some mattresses since we were 12 or so people? ‘We have no more mattresses.’ Some change in exchange for dollar bills so we could call parents and loved ones? (The one public telephone in the cell would only take coins.) ‘It’s against regulations.’ Some soap? ‘Maybe we’ll come up with some soap.’ After no, no, no to every reasonable request, we wound up with a small jar of soap. Distressing is hardly the word for a culture of willful neglect and the exercise of what power those officers held over us for those 30 hours.”

While Reilly’s experience was horrific, it is only a sliver of the atrocities that over 114,000 women in prisons and jails must endure on a daily basis. When the article first appeared, I printed it out and circulated it to several currently incarcerated women and asked how Schneider’s weekend compared to their own realities. (more…)

Occupied Nigeria

January 23, 2012 By: NCVeditor Category: Culture, Economy, Matt Meyer, Politics

Deploying Nonviolence Against Colonialism

by Matt Meyer

For too many expatriate Africans living in the West, the phrase Occupied Nigeria raises scary images of U.S. or NATO warships bearing down in AFRICOM-commando fashion, reestablishing Eurocentric hegemony over the worlds’ fifth largest supplier of crude oil. Before these early days of 2012, we had barely heard news of the spreading Occupy hashtag on the continent that helped re-popularize mass nonviolent civilian resistance around the world last year. Now #Occupy Nigeria in just two short weeks has mobilized thousands in cities across the diverse West African country, along with support demonstrations (including some of those ex-pats) in London, Los Angeles, New Jersey, and elsewhere. The widespread strike by Nigerian oil workers continues to grow, as calls for an end to economic and political corruption gain momentum.

The short-term issue which birthed the network now being called Occupy Nigeria was the hastily-announced January 1, 2012 end of the federal fuel subsidies which had enabled average Nigerians to afford gas pumped from oil reserves on their own land. This resulted in an overnight 120 percent price increase, and an outburst of fury at decades of governmental collusion with the multi-billion dollar oil industry. (more…)