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Please consider attending this multi-many things event on Wednesday, August 28 in commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the civil rights march on Washington, D.C.  Learn more at the Urban League of Cleveland’s website where you can view the flyer. I know many people have been communicating, planning and meeting about this event for some time now. I’m looking forward to it very much.

By Jill Miller Zimon at 5:23 pm August 16th, 2013 in Civil Rights, Cleveland+ | Comments Off 

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Well, that’s just my prediction. See why:

Lots of good commentary and coverage – start here.

By Jill Miller Zimon at 11:21 pm June 2nd, 2013 in Civic engagement, Civil Rights, Courage, Diversity, intolerance, Marketing, Parenting | Comments Off 

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The latest NBC poll offers a nice recognition for today’s milestone reached by Roe:

According to the poll, 54 percent of adults say that abortion should be legal either always or most of the time, while a combined 44 percent said it should be illegal – either with or without exceptions.

That’s the first time since this poll question was first asked in 2003 that a majority maintained that abortion should be legal. Previously (with just one exception in 2008), majorities said abortion should be illegal.

In addition, a whopping 70 percent of Americans oppose the Roe v. Wade decision being overturned, including 57 percent who feel strongly about this.

There are many excellent pieces of writing reflecting on Roe to be found around the interwebz but here are a few I came across today:

Roe v. Wade at 40: Then and Now (Joanne Bamberger, The Broad Side)

5 Things You Don’t Know About Roe (Irin Carmon,

The People’s Choice (Jeffrey Toobin, The New Yorker)

Interactive: The Geography of Abortion Access (The Daily Beast)

Crow After Roe: How Women’s Health is the New “Separate But Equal” & How to Change That (Book excerpt, Robin Marty and Jessica Pieklo)

Roe at 40: Judging a Mother’s Choice (NYT’s The MotherLode) but then be sure to read

Reproductive Justice for All Daughters (Veronica Arreola at Fly Over Feminism)

Roe v. Wade. Forty Years. (Echidne of the Snakes)

Posts from young feminists (h/t to Sam Meier):

“What Was Life Like Before Roe v. Wade?”

“Whatever Happened to Jane Roe?”

“What is Roe v. Wade? Many Millennials Have No Clue”


The Women’s Media Center’s Media Guide to Covering Reproductive Issues

By Jill Miller Zimon at 12:02 am January 23rd, 2013 in Abortion, Civil Rights, Gender, Health Care, Women | Comments Off 

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Mike Gillis, Ohio AFL-CIO communications director, has written up this excellent piece about the forum I moderated two days ago on the impact of Issue 2 (i.e., SB5) on women in the workforce.  The panelists were superb and I could have listened to them for a day-long presentation.

I’ll be writing up my thoughts on the panel in the next day or so but in the meantime, please read Mike’s post.  A teaser:

Kelly Trautner, deputy executive officer for labor relations with the Ohio Nurses Association, spoke about legal aspects to collective bargaining that act as a protection for women in the workplace.

One of our core American values is equality.  Collective bargaining elevates the role of the employee so they can have a say in the workplace and there are many laws that protect women in the workplace.  Collective bargaining provides another layer of that protection.

Any of the panelists would be great resources if you still have questions.

By Jill Miller Zimon at 8:09 pm October 20th, 2011 in Civil Rights, Economy, employment, Gender, Government, Ohio, Transparency, Women | 2 Comments 

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Word cloud of what getting off the sidelines means

Many thanks to US Senator Kirsten Gillibrand for this effort and graphic.

By Jill Miller Zimon at 10:20 am September 7th, 2011 in activism, Civil Rights, democracy, Gender | 1 Comment 

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If the Ohio Secretary of State, Republican Jon Husted, really wants to make availability of vote by mail applications uniform across the 88 counties, he’s got an awful lot of confiscating to do:

1. Remove that link on the SOS page that lets people download it for themselves. Because let’s talk digital divide – who has access to a computer? To the Internet? Who makes it to a library to download? Very not uniform, SOS Husted.

2. What about people who call for one by smartphone? Not everyone has a smartphone.  Don’t give a vote by mail application to people with smartphones – that would not be uniform.

3. As I wrote yesterday, senior centers and libraries very often offer vote by mail applications. But certainly not every single one in every county.  Better go snatch those applications from our senior citizens’ gathering places and libraries – where eager 18 year olds hanging out after school or those pesky folks without computers might decide to vote! We can’t have that.

4. Veterans halls – don’t you bet they have them there? But not every single one – go get them!

5. Political parties – I know I have heard that local political parties will send out vote by mail applications. Snatch snatch SNATCH those away, now.

6. Again, I mentioned yesterday – political candidates.  Yup, we walk around, door to door, encouraging people to register to vote and give them vote by mail applications. But SOS Husted needs to find a way to keep us from enabling those folks to exercise their right to vote! He has got to make sure not a single, solitary candidate for office is handing out a vote by mail application – because you can bet that not EVERY single solitary candidate for office is handing out a vote by mail application to every single voter in their district – they would only give them to the people they expect to vote for them!! TOTALLY Wouldn’t be uniform. Go get ‘em, Jon.

Of course, I cannot find anything in the Ohio law that specifies who can and who cannot give a vote by mail application to an Ohioan, which would lead me (and anyone grounded on this Earth) to the conclusion that it is not illegal for anyone to actually give someone a vote by mail application.  But the way Husted is trying to restrict voter rights, he wants to say that Cuyahoga County can’t send out vote by mail applications because it isn’t uniform (since not all 88 counties can afford to send out vote by mail applications to all its voters).

There are, obviously, many problems with his logic, but the most disturbing one is this: who ELSE will he then have to force to stop giving out vote by mail applications so that there is uniformity? And then what does that uniformity stand for? Only uniformity of denying access to voting.

This is why, as the ACLU and even the Plain Dealer state, the Ohio Secretary of State should be enforcing uniformity of access by having all counties send vote by mail applications to Ohio’s registered voters. If the state’s largest counties have been paying for it for the last five years, it’s clear that Husted is copping out by calling it an unfunded mandate.  And frankly, when we’re talking voter access, in the state our democracy is in right now, we should absolutely be erring on the side of greater, not lesser voter access.

Ohio Daily Blog has been covering this as well (this morning too). The Cuyahoga County Council will vote today on the County Executive’s plan for getting vote by mail applications to all of the county’s voters. You can read the info on the vote (4pm County Council meeting in their chambers) here.

And note Husted’s threat stated yesterday: Husted said that he is considering ordering the board of elections to not send the actual ballot to voters for whom they have received vote by mail applications that he deems are “illegal” – which applications, exactly, would those be, Jon?  See here for the exact quote.

Hmm – this all sounds an awful lot like obstruction of voters’ rights but hey – uniformity aka disenfranchisement.  It’s the new black.

By Jill Miller Zimon at 8:18 am August 29th, 2011 in Civil Rights, democracy, Elections, Ohio, Politics, Voting | Comments Off 

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From the  Ohio Association of Gifted Education Action Alert, 3/17/11 (in part, but please – read it all):

I should note that in the governor’s town hall meeting on the budget on Tuesday, a father of a gifted child asked why the gifted funding was eliminated.  The governor’s education policy director, Bob Sommers indicated that gifted education remains a high priority and that gifted funding was maintained. Tim Keen, the director of the Office of Budget and Management, then said that districts all gifted funding in the basic aid funding for gifted children and will have to make the local decision about how to serve these students.  Governor Kasich then took the microphone and said that Ohio is in the bottom ten of all states for having money in the classroom and the in the top ten for having bureaucracy. He recommended that if a parent has a gifted child that the parent should go into the local superintendent’s office and stand up for their child by demanding services.  The interesting response seems to indicate that perhaps the unintended consequences for the gifted budget recommendation may not be fully understood by the governor and his staff. As gifted education is a small and unusual part of the education budget, that isn’t too surprising. But it does need to be fixed if gifted services are to be maintained in the majority of districts in the state.

Sigh – I’m not even going to respond to Kasich’s recommendation – thank goodness Ann addressed it very, very diplomatically (I would not have).

I’d been watching the action alert page anxiously last week and am glad that I’ve gone back to the twitter feed of OAGC’s Ann Sheldon (on Twitter, @anngift) to see that an alert has now been posted.

Here’s what you can do (and what you know I’ll be doing), also from the Action Alert: Read more

By Jill Miller Zimon at 2:23 pm March 20th, 2011 in Civil Rights, democracy, Education, John Kasich, Ohio, Parenting, Politics, Statehouse, Youth | 2 Comments 

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Because the Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism Act of 2007 has been around for nearly five years, 400 members of Congress signed onto it in 2009, and it absolutely anticipated that radicalization, however they were going to define it, was not limited to any one religious, ethnic, political or cultural group (though one reason I was writing about the Act in the past was to say that I perceived that to be cover anyway).

Yet U.S. Representative Peter King is refusing to expand the hearings he has scheduled for this week beyond an inquiry into “radical Muslims.”

I’ve been writing about that 2007 legislation since…oh yeah, 2007.  Now read the definition that concerned and convinced nearly the entire U.S. House of Representatives enough that they approved creating an entity to, in fact, examine the issue of violent radicalization and homegrown terrorism:

[California Democratic Rep., Jane] Harman’s bill would convene a 10-member national commission to study“violent radicalization” (defined as “the process of adopting or promoting an extremist belief system for the purpose of facilitating ideologically based violence to advance political, religious, or social change”) and “homegrown terrorism” (defined as “the use, planned use, or threatened use, of force or violence by a group or individual born, raised, or based and operating primarily within the United States […] to intimidate or coerce the United States government, the civilian population of the United States, or any segment thereof, in furtherance of political or social objectives”).

The bill also directs the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to designate a “center of excellence,” a university-based research center where academics, policy-makers, members of the private sector and other stakeholders can collaborate to better understand and prevent radicalization and homegrown terrorism. [my emphasis above]

King’s omission of looking at this topic in general and instead only focusing on Muslims isn’t wrong just because of its targeting, but it is wrong and dangerous because of the false sense of who he wants people to think are responsible for radical acts in our country, and the backgrounds of people who are actually responsible for radical acts in our country.

I stood against that act before and I believe King’s reiteration of this kind of inquiry shows just how inappropriately such a thing could be used.

This is dangerous, dangerous stuff to which we’re subjecting Americans – both those of us in the gallery and the exclusive ones King is planning to question.

By Jill Miller Zimon at 8:49 am March 7th, 2011 in Civil Rights, intolerance, Politics, Religion, Social Issues | 1 Comment 

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In a week that saw the launch of a funded, organized, coordinated effort to help us get at the roots of sexism (check out Name It. Change It), we also get Sarah Palin demonstrating the carelessness with which she’s accused many others in using sexist rhetoric. From CNN Politicalticker:

“Those who are impotent and limp and gutless and they go on their anonymous – sources that are anonymous – and impotent, limp and gutless reporters take anonymous sources and cite them as being factual references,” Palin said in her criticism of the press. “It just slays me because it’s so absolutely clear what the state of yellow journalism is today that they would take these anonymous sources as fact.”

It would never be okay and we would absolutely slam any political figure who used frigid or barren in an analogous context.  When Sarah Palin says things like this she is giving permission for frigid and barren to be used as well. And let’s not forget her use of cojones.

Seriously – I thought we were trying to stop this kind of ridiculous lazy language that demonstrates a failure to come up with substantive attacks rather than buzzwords and sound bites.  People who write about women’s rights and gender parity should be noting how these incidents compound the difficulty in breaking down and getting past barriers.  Palin is in fact reinforcing the strength of those barriers for women to get ahead when she uses this kind of rhetoric.

How long will people let her play the victim of sexism rather than recognize that Sarah Palin invites it with her use of it and continues to lag in taking action to defeat it?  You know what I’d rather she call impotent, limp and gutless? The Young Guns program and book that does nothing but feature stereotyped machodom. Where’s Sarah’s criticism of that campaign’s paucity of women (which leads to the paucity of women down the pipeline)? Where’s her critique of the fact that because Republicans are challenging Democratic women with men, rather than with women, the number of women in Congress may go down significantly?  The Los Angeles Times directly connects that possibility to the GOP’s Young Guns failure to include more women.


By Jill Miller Zimon at 9:29 am September 3rd, 2010 in Civil Rights, Congress, conservatives, Ethics, Gender, leadership, Politics, Sarah Palin, Sexism, Women | 2 Comments 

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Welcome to this week’s edition of Haveil Havalim #275: The “I’m so busy that putting together this blog carnival is actually what substitutes for taking a break” Edition.

Founded by Soccer Dad, Haveil Havalim is a carnival of Jewish blogs — a weekly collection of Jewish and Israeli blog highlights, tidbits and points of interest collected from blogs all around the world. It’s hosted by different bloggers each week and coordinated by the formidable Jack.

No enthusiastic experiments this week like last week’s edition, but I’ll see what I can do to keep it flowing:


Batya presents If I Were To Wear A Wig… posted at me-ander. Side-note: my daughter is into anime/manga and desperately wanted to wear her character’s wig. Did not work out so well, but maybe if I wore one, she’d have been conditioned? FYI, here’s a fascinating post on Jews in Anime and Manga.

Kissmeimshomer presents Get With the Program, an entry I read to be about parallel lives, and choices, posted at Kissmeimshomer.

Izgad offers a book review in An Anthropologist Does ArtScroll: A Review of Orthodox by Design posted at Izgad.

Izgad also addresses dress codes, values and what price people are willing to pay in Of Matisse, Skirt Lengths and Teaching Skills posted at Izgad.

Mordechai Torczyner speculates in Why does Cleveland hate LeBron James? posted at The Rebbetzin’s Husband. But I can tell you, having just driven past the famous “Witness” wall last night on my way to a friend’s 40th birthday party in downtown Cleveland that, as a parent, LeBron’s decision just sends a bad message – if it doesn’t have to be about money, then it can be about winning.  And that seems to make it not be about life.


Mrs. S. presents A tale of two graduations (possibly alternatively titled, “Expectations Explained”?) posted at Our Shiputzim: A Work In Progress.


Shira sounds a theme I’ve read in other posts regarding Segregation in Israeli Schools Today posted at Table Poetry.  It’s posts like this one and Mottel’s that make me ache for us to have ever-larger audiences though, so the nuances of such situations can be known and acknowledged.

Joel Katz’s weekly podcasts can be listened to here, Religion and State in Israel – July 5, 2010 (Section 1) and here, Religion and State in Israel – July 5, 2010 (Section 2) (both posted at Religion and State in Israel).

Ben-Yehudah’s Loyalty To The State? piece reminds me of the “First they came for…” reading many of us have heard or read for decades.  His entry is posted at Esser Agaroth.

Harry gives kudos to good writing in A bissle culture posted at ISRAELITY.

Then, Harry describes how a rocker expresses his love for Israel in A porcupine tree grows in Tel Aviv, also posted at ISRAELITY.

Finally, Harry looks at just how frequently all-things-Israel get mentioned in How Kagan’s hearing turned into an Israeli focus, you know where it’s posted.

Ilana-David publishes an intriguing Weekly Interview: Baila, accompanied by nice photos, at Ilana-Davita.

The World Cup and a meal led David Levy to write this rather deep entry about Rethinking Germany, posted at Jewish Boston.

Batya highlights PM Binyamin Netanyahu and Larry King “Fencing” Around The Chess Board complete with video and a link to the show’s transcript, posted at Shiloh Musings.

Susan Barnes presents a cute, flip take on her, ahem, hatred of  Tel Aviv posted at To Kiss A Mezuzah.

Then, Susan reflects on how easy it is to realize, here in the U.S. how one is No Longer in Israel, also posted at To Kiss A Mezuzah.

In Religion Taken Too Far, posted at The Israel Situation, Eric writes about his impressions of the multi-faceted situation in Immanuel.

Then, Eric offers his opinion on Israel Offers Peace Talks, PA Says No and wonders what we think, again at The Israel Situation.


Batya argues, “It’s not enough to feel the spirit” in Torah Judaism, Is It Enough to Be Spiritual Without Keeping The Laws? posted at Shiloh Musings. A very provocative topic indeed.

(I love the name of this blog): Homeshuling presents What’s Jewish about competitive eating? – Homeshuling posted at Home-shuling.

Mottel’s lengthy but absolutely worth the full-read, A Fire Burns in Crown Heights: An Essay on Religion, Modernity and Pizza, has implications, imo, for all kinds of situations, religious and non.  It’s posted at Letters of Thought.

Kissmeimshomer examines religion and happiness in Killing Babies and Understanding Brad Pitt’s Depression at Kissmeimshomer.

Rabbi Yehoishophot Oliver discusses levels of commitment to our faith in The corrosive impact of half-hearted worship, posted at A Chassidishe farbrengen.

Ben-Yehudah gives some technical advice with illustrative illustrations in Do You Pay Attention To The Google Ads On Your Site? posted at Esser Agaroth.

David Levy’s Book Review: Empowered Judaism might add to your summer reading list, posted at Jewish Boston.

I don’t know whether or not I’d recommend this to someone consider being a rabbi but Mordechai Torczyner’s entry, Why Rabbis Stop Believing, posted at The Rebbetzin’s Husband, sure raises a lot of good conversation points.

Minnesota Mamaleh’s Minnesota Mamaleh: Tradition!, posted at TC Jewfolk, is an excellent counter-balance to Batya’s belief (linked to above) that spirit alone doesn’t do it.


The title of Joshua Waxman’s entry faked me out so it’s a good thing he included what category Anisakis worms and peshat in Kukyanei, according to Rashi and Rabbenu Tam belonged to (posted at parshablog).


Shira confesses a bit in Material Girl posted at Table Poetry.

Rachel Moore describes the classic chaos we often go through just to get to the rest we need in Chugga Chugga aahhhh, posted at Ima 2 Seven.

Don’t read this entry unless you want to be baking today – the photo alone in Miriyummy’s Dulce Dog Days of Summer, at Miriyummy is going to seduce you.

Chabad Lubavitch World Headquarters shows us how we can find a lesson pretty much anywhere in Old and Wise, posted at Chabad-Lubavitch news site.

To the question raised in Hadassah Sabo Milner’s WWYD – hair covering, posted at In the Pink? I always always do what you did.

The title of Chaviva’s entry, Once Upon a Time, I Was Agnostic. posted at Just call me Chaviva, reminds me of when I was a freshman at Georgetown and we had to pick a second mandatory theology class (the one all frosh have to take is called The Problem of God), and I first encountered the word, “gnosticism.”


Batya presents skepticism in Obama’s All Teeth …, posted at Shiloh Musings.

Lady-Light writes about what she sees as A Disturbing Assessment of President Obama, posted at Tikkun Olam.

Independent Patriot’s perspectives on the same event can be read in the Oval Office Nonsensical Dance, posted at Liberty’s Spirit.


I can’t even pretend I know what he’s talking about given my insufficient education in this area, but I bet a lot of you will enjoy Joshua Waxman’s Demonic messages between Sura and Pumbedita, posted at parshablog.

That concludes this edition. Submit your blog article to the next edition of Haveil Havalim using the carnival submission form. Past posts and future hosts can be found on the blog carnival index page.

Thank you all for your submissions – they make me sad for all the time I have not had or made to read and keep up on often gripping and always real thoughts on these subjects.

By Jill Miller Zimon at 11:20 am July 11th, 2010 in anti-semitism, Barack Obama, Civil Rights, conservatives, Culture, democracy, Education, Foreign Affairs, Gaza, George Bush, Government, Holidays, intolerance, Israel, Jewish, Judaism, leadership, Military, palestinians, peace, Politics, Recipes, Religion, Sexism, Social Issues, Sports, war, Women, Writing, Youth | 13 Comments 

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As you can see from the comments this post has generated at The Moderate Voice, there’s a lot of whining about how business would suffer if they cared about pregnant women, about how pregnant women shouldn’t be treated differently from anyone else with a need to take leave and how pregnant women don’t deserve to be in any special class that would get privileges no one else would get.

I can’t make the forest for the trees view of this any clearer than I do below:

1. The United States is a developed country that uses and abuses its female workforce based on the fact that they’re female and are the only ones who can get pregnant. I think that’s abhorrent and developed countries can and should do better, even within the context of business. Successful corporations do it all the time and here’s one list to get you started. Furthermore, from that article, emphasis mine:

The bottom line is that your direct supervisor, specific job and work group will have a tremendous impact on whether you truly are able to benefit from the work-life balance policies in your employee manual. But at the least, having those policies on the books is a first step. I’m glad Working Mother is doing the hard work of evaluating these companies and calling attention to the need for family-friendly benefits.

Look at the stark contrast between companies on the list and national averages. Only 16 percent of U.S. companies offer job sharing, versus 98 percent of the Best Companies. One quarter nationally provide health insurance to part-time workers, versus 99 percent of the 100 Best, according to Working Mother.

2. There is no place in our lexicon for saying that a person is pro-woman but that being pro-women excludes fighting for workplace policies that allow all women, not just the married or wealthy ones, to make the same choices without penalties – such as losing your job because you’re pregnant, a penalty men will never face.  If there is information that supports that that is in fact a penalty men face, I would support crafting workplace policies that eliminate that penalty.

3. Political candidates who classify themselves or allow others to classify them as conservative feminists (aka “Mama Grizzlies”) need to demonstrate what that means.  Few people would argue that there is great confusion as to how that is operationalized in real life.  Being labeled something is one thing – showing what you do and what policies you support then fills out the definition of who fulfills that label.

4. I want to know how the conservative feminists (a term for which it’s nearly impossible to find a definition) and Mama Grizzlies respond to workplace policies that clearly do not support families, do not support women, do not support children.

That’s it.  Really not complicated at all.  Looking forward to the responses.

By Jill Miller Zimon at 10:18 am June 24th, 2010 in Abortion, activism, Business, Campaigning, Civil Rights, conservatives, Courts, Culture, democracy, Economy, Elections, employment, Ethics, Gender, Government, Health Care, intolerance, Law, leadership, marriage, Parenting, Politics, Republicans, Sarah Palin, Sexism, Social Issues, Women, Youth | 1 Comment 

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Take a look at the Plain Dealer’s Metro section today, page B3.  Here are the headlines:

North Ridgeville teen guilty of killing of sex abuser

Brooklyn ex-mayor pleads not guilty in 2008 case [charges involve assaulting a woman at City Hall while the ex-mayor was drunk]

Couple: Boy found beaten, tied to table

Crash: Community staggered by teenagers’ deaths [car crash involving 3 teens including one - who crashed into a car pulling out of  a driveway - who has admitted driving with a broken speedometer on a classic Mustang]

Then read this obituary of Alice Miller and this account of her work at Alice Miller, Child Abuse and Mistreatment. It’s not just what makes it to B3.

What are people thinking?

Devastating. Just absolutely tears rolling down my cheeks red with anger devastating.

We have failed to inculcate that there were laws to protect animals before there were laws to protect kids and that being a parent involves undertaking the single most grave responsibility there is in this life: raising another human being.

*TO BE CLEAR: It’s not the PD’s fault that people are committing these acts.  Yes, they choose the news we end up reading, but “but for” people being behind these acts, there wouldn’t be any of this to report.  Frankly, if I thought it would keep one person from hurting another and protect one person from being hurt, I’d tell the PD to fill an entire day’s edition full of these stories until people rid themselves of every tool of anger, rage, intolerance and lack of a conscience.  If we don’t trust that we can make an argument with words to persuade others, I refuse to accept that using violence will reach any preferable result.

By Jill Miller Zimon at 8:26 am April 30th, 2010 in Civil Rights, Crime, Culture, Education, Ethics, Health Care, Illness, intolerance, Law, leadership, Mental health, Parenting, peace, Sexism, Social Issues, Women, Youth | 1 Comment 

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No, seriously – I totally do not get this. The Daily Briefing reports on a court tussle between Ohio Department of Natural Resources and owners of property on Lake Erie regarding where property lines should be drawn.  Water touching land is one aspect, but property owners adding soil/sand to their property, most likely to combat erosion, is another aspect.  So then the article has this:

Sen. Bill Seitz, R-Cincinnati, called the Department of Natural Resources a “rogue agency that continues to be the force of oppression on lakefront property owners.”

“It is appropriate we have this press conference here today in the George Washington Williams room, because as one of Ohio’s first African American legislators, he typified the struggle of citizens against oppression,” Seitz said. “And the lakefront property owners have been for at least six years the victim of bureaucratic oppression claiming they have to pay for that which is already specified in their deeds.

“They have had to take this struggle, as the African American community took this struggle, to the courts and found vindication in the courts.”

Really? “Six years…of bureaucratic oppression” equals the “the struggle of [African-American] citizens against oppression”?  I’m sure it is an absolute nightmare for the property owners to have to wage a legal battle over this.  And it’s a fascinating legal and governmental issue to me.

But comparable to the African-American struggle against oppression? Emmm…no.  Don’t even have to think about that one.

By Jill Miller Zimon at 9:30 am January 21st, 2010 in Civil Rights, Cleveland+, Courts, Government, Law, Ohio, Politics, Race, Statehouse, war | 12 Comments 

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U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton gave a speech yesterday to commemorate the 15th Anniversary of the first International Conference on Population and Development. That gathering included a total of thousands of delegates from 179 countries.

You can watch the entire presentation here on CSPAN-2 (and it includes remarks by the first ever Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women’s Issues, Melanne Verveer as well as Secretary Clinton’s remarks) or the 22 minute version with just the Secretary’s remarks, courtesy of RHRealityCheck’s coverage of the event. I’ve yet to see a transcription or text of the speech, but here is a near live-blog from The Frisky with quotes for those who, like me, really like to see the remarks in writing.

The first ICPD occurred in Cairo in 1994 and set up goals to be reached in 20 years. Clinton reviewed where we stand in regard to the progress the Cairo gathering envisioned and what must be done to accomplish the goals set 15 years ago.

From The Frisky’s steno of Clinton’s address: Read more

By Jill Miller Zimon at 11:24 am January 9th, 2010 in BlogHer, Civil Rights, Culture, Government, Hillary Clinton, Illness, leadership, Politics, Sexism, Social Issues, war, Women, Youth | Comments Off 

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Whether you’re surprised by this story or not is beside the point, which is that this kind of thing and variations on the same thing happen with shocking regularity.  From Why James Chartrand Wears Women’s Underpants:

You know me as James Chartrand of Men with Pens, a regular Copyblogger contributor for just shy of two years.

And yet, I’m a woman.

This is not a joke or an angle or an analogy — I’m literally a woman.

This is my story.

What you’ll learn when you read his/her story is the shocking! but true! tale of how – I know, hold your breath – men make more than women in the writing world, even when everything is remote and online.

Shock. Ing. I. Know.

Some takes on this so far:

From The Frisky:

My first instinct was to be inflamed with anger at the discrimination that led her to do use a pseudonym. Same old, same old BS, right? Sexism and racism are indeed alive and well. And, hey, as a woman, I can sure relate to how she felt. I’ve had my share of sexist blog comments calling me the c-word, and worse; I remember what it felt like when I was a newspaper reporter and the fire chief in town, who loved to pal around with my male colleague, declined to answer a question from me because it was “too complicated” for me to “understand.” I absolutely believe Chartrand when she says that her gender cost her gigs. Who knows, maybe Chartrand is not Caucasian and has a real name that reflects she is a person of color, a potential double bind when she applied for jobs. Maybe her race cost her gigs, too.

But once I sat for awhile and thought more analytically, I felt resentful that Chartrand chose to “pass” (my word, not hers) as a male writer. Chartrand wrote she wasn’t interested in becoming an activist—as she put it: “I never wanted to be an activist, or to fight the world. I’m not interested in clawing my way up a ladder to a glass ceiling. Life’s too short for that.” That’s the part that slays me—“life’s too short.” Well, sure, life is too short for any woman, or a black person, or a gay person, who is discriminated against. However, most of us aren’t lucky enough to be in a profession where we can completely hide behind a pseudonym. Madeleine Albright didn’t do it. Meg Whitman didn’t do it. The Williams sisters didn’t do it.

From Momsrising:

This is an old story. But it’s also a story of the Internet age, of a prominent blogger who “came out” today online to tell her story. That this is a story of a digitally proficient, virtual knowledge worker somehow surprised me.

If women still need to take men’s names to earn as much as men do, then surely we need a new woman’s movement. And not one centered solely around reproduction and abortion politics, which I fear is what people think of instinctually when they hear the word “feminist,” now.

From Jezebel:

The success of BlogHer and the mommy blogger movement have led some to hail the blogosphere as a place of gender equality. While some mommy bloggers snag Wal-Mart endorsements, the world of business blogging — Men with Pens advertises its “business sense, branding expertise, and savvy sales and marketing smarts” may still be more of aMad Men type of place. It’s impossible to tell whether the bullets-and-bricks aesthetic of Men with Pens was a calculated decision, but it’s possible that a male name and a stereotypically male persona are favored in the web marketing industry. Are mom-bloggers seen as fundamentally amateur, even if they shill for big companies, while men get the real professional gigs (even if those “men” are actually moms themselves)?

At this point, James seems to have built a brand, and it’s unlikely that she’ll suffer too much from her outing. But a post she wrote last year now seems eerily apt. In “Would You Become Someone Else To Achieve Your Dreams?,” James writes, “Think about how you would react if someone told you that who you are is holding you back – and you knew they were right. This person tells you that if you were someone else, you could live your dream.” She adds,

If you had the chance to be someone else, would you do it? Would you take on a role that makes opportunity possible, makes life easier, and makes your dreams become reality? More importantly… who would you be?

For James, it appears the answer was yes — and it’s easy to understand why. Still, it’s pretty sad that the “role that makes opportunity possible, makes life easier, and makes your dreams become reality” still has to be that of a man.

Do not be fooled into an “is this okay or not for a person to do this just to make money” cycle of argumentation.  This is similar to the “writers should always turn down opportunities that don’t pay” debate (pro turning down: if we all turn down no-pay assignments, payors will be forced to pay everyone all the time; against turning down: you build your portfolio, could get paid work from the free work, build name recognition, get published).

The real point is this: in both situations, the people who control the money  don’t give it up (or don’t give it up in equal amounts to men and women) unless they have to.  The question then being: how do we make “you have to pay, period” or “you have to pay men and women the same” the default?

If you think this is a rare and odd circumstance, let me give political blog readers and bloggers one name: Digby.

By Jill Miller Zimon at 7:07 pm December 14th, 2009 in Blogging, Civil Rights, employment, Gender, Media, Politics, Sexism, Women, Writing | 3 Comments 

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From AmericaBlog (via The Nookular Option):

Holocaust survivor and Nobel laureate Elie Wiesel criticized a Teabagger protester in Washington, DC this week who held up a sign showing dead bodies from the Dachau concentration camp stacked in a pile, and compared this to the Democrats’ health care reform plan. Here are a few of the Teabaggers’ responses to Weisel, posted on Politico:

Rothschilds nothing! Everyone knows that Obama is George Soros sock puppet. Wasn’t Soros Jewish once upon a time? May the Schwartz be with you.

The jews need to clam up and accept the fact that they are in a Chritian country.

This hollowcost thing is totally overblown by the jewish.

Eli Wiesel should just go back to Indonesia. I don’t see him condemnig the terrorist shooter at Fort Hood.

Elie is a whiner. She should stop her whining. You didn’t not complane when the libs were calling Bush Hitler.

You know what? The fact is that at a time in history, The Rosthchild family controlled practically everything.This is a fact. Not anti semitic. I resent the Jewish outrage at everything. I am a tea partier. obama is a Marxist and takes his orders from George Soros… it is similar and these people need to get a life., Why any Jew would support the Obama administation is a mystery anyway. He is a Muslim sympathizer and the greatest threat to Israel ever to sit in the White House. Wake up Jewish community. Take off the blinders.

Rothschild sign? Well its factually true. They were one of the primary families involved in founding the Federal Reserve and are still in it up to their necks. Obama, Bush, and every president since Wilson have done as the Fed told them. Since it a valid historical fact that this family was involved in creating and still has ownership of a substantial piece of the Federal Reserve (but nobody seems to know how much), I guess its now Anti- Semitic to discuss anything a Jew does critically? This guy is a Hebrew Al Sharpton.

Elie, how did that whole Madoff thing work out for you?

Elie Wiesel: Newest, most current tool of the sick, perverted, racist, anti-semetic Democrap party. Have you no shame Democraps?

“most American jews are not very religious and many are outright unbelievers, Jews in name only.” Many older Jews in America feel shame for BEING in America, rather than emigrating to Israel in the late 1940s. Many sent money to help the colonization, and a few sent Army-surplus rifles, but the majority came up with the most interesting excuses for not answering the call to gather together and forge their homeland.

Elie Weisel is disgusting PR-seeking profiteering demagogue who has made a fortune off playing on the world’s guilt trips about the what happened to the Jews during WW2. Most objective WW2 researchers agree now that the beastial Nazi”s, who happened to be anti-capitalist Socialists, killed even more Slavs and Gypsies in their concentration camps than Jews, but you don’t see the Slavs and Gypsies trying to profit off the “Holocaust” like some of the shameless powerful Jews in the media.

I sometimes wonder what has happened to the Jewish people?. The Bible says that they are GODs’ people and Israel is their home land. I see so many Jews seem to have abandoned their faith and I think this has to sadden our Father in Heaven. I see many Jews that are homosexual-actively promoting it as a “normal” lifestyle. I see many Jews involved in the ACLU- which I call the “Anti Christian Liberal Union”, this bothers me as how can one be against their Father and Son in Heaven who are for Life??. I see many Jews in Hollywood making filthy ,sinful movies-what happened to the good, Family movies??. I see many Jews full of Greed in Hollywood, Wall Street,etc. I see many Jews involved in abortion groups- how can one support the killing of human fetuses??, especially people who have suffered through the Holocaust??. I am not anti-semitic, I know many will come on here and attack me. I am simply stating what I see and I believe our Father in Heaven is wondering what is happening to his “chosen” people?. He sent his only son to Earth to die for our sins and I think He is wondering the direction our Country is taking??. I am praying for our Country and all the Jews in our Country and pray that our Father will forgive us all for our sins. I hope I have stated what GOD would have wanted me to say?. GOD Bless and Pray for our Country.

Old man should go away.

During my time campaigning, I was told by a now-former Pepper Pike resident that there are too many Jews in the city and I will get no help.

Comments like that and the ones above make one’s choices very, very simple. To wit, this post is? It’s posted.

By Jill Miller Zimon at 12:44 am November 10th, 2009 in anti-semitism, Barack Obama, Campaigning, Civil Rights, democracy, Jewish, Judaism, middle east, Pepper Pike, Politics, Religion, Social Issues | 9 Comments 

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My social work field placement was in the Cuyahoga County Juvenile Court in 1989-1990.  A large chunk of my work was conducting a part of the process performed that leads to the clinicians providing information to the jurists so that they can decide whether or not a minor is “amenable” to treatment or other juvenile court options if the minor is “found delinquint” or should be “bound over” to adult court.

I’ve used a lot of quotation marks because these are all terms of art.

I’m not familiar with the two cases to be heard tomorrow in the Supreme Court of the United States (aka SCOTUS), but here is an excellent post at the always excellent SCOTUSblog about the cases.

Like any risk management assessment, it’s almost impossible to be 100% certain that someone won’t ever do something “like that” or that they will absolutely continue to be that dangerous for the rest of their natural life. Just think about some of the most heinous events of the past 12 months – the Holocaust museum shooter, the Fort Hood event, the shooting of Army recruiters, the killing of George Tiller. From the clinical side, we have laws to protect the professionals who make the assessments about whether someone will or will not injure or do worse to others specifically because it is known that they cannot predict with 100% certainty and must be allowed to carry out their professional duties without constant fear of being sued when their assessments prove wrong. (Don’t worry – there is still plenty of room to sue – always, for better or worse.)

But juvenile recidivism is a topic I’ve researched since 1979, when I was in high school, literally (it was my first-ever independent study for a social sciences class). And the fact that 30 years later, this kind of case is coming before the Supreme Court just demonstrates how conflicted we remain and the evidence remains about what to do when juveniles commit crimes.

If anything, that fact alone indicates to me that we leave discretion intact for the jurists with the option to always review a case and so no cases where a sentence of life without parole is handed down to a minor, just as former Republican Senator Alan Simpson has said, he of the Simpson-Mazzoli immigration law that I worked on in the Reagan administration while working at the USDOJ. From Simpson’s WaPo op-ed:

When I was a teen, we rode aimlessly around town, shot things up, started fires and generally raised hell. It was only dumb luck that we never really hurt anyone. At 17, I was caught destroying federal property and was put on probation. For two years, my probation officer visited me and my friends at home, in the pool hall, at school and on the basketball court. He was a wonderful guy who listened and really cared. I did pretty well on probation. At 21, though, I got into a fight in a tough part of town and ended up in jail for hitting a police officer.

I spent only one night in jail, but that was enough. I remember thinking, “I don’t need too much more of this.”

I had a chance to turn my life around, and I took it. This term, the U.S. Supreme Court will decide whether other young people get that same chance.

When a young person is sent “up the river,” we need to remember that all rivers can change course.

I’d like to see studies about whether the possibility of the life without the possibility of parole sentence has worked as a deterrent. That’s usually the place I start when analyzing this kind of issue – does it actually do what it’s supposed to.

What do you think? Should the option to send a minor to prison without a possibility of parole be eliminated?

By Jill Miller Zimon at 10:45 am November 8th, 2009 in Civil Rights, Courts, Crime, Law, Social Issues, Youth | 2 Comments 

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A few updates/notes:

1. Buckeye State Blog was indeed the first (and only one of two Ohio political blogs anywhere on the spectrum) to write about the case, Allen v. totes/Isotoner Corp.. On that day, I did pass its link on through women-focused listservs and it has been picked up since then, including on’s Friday Femme Fatale round-up – many thanks.

2. The decision came out just as OSU’s Institute on Women, Gender and Public Policy released a report on how poorly Ohio is doing vis a vis women.

3. That Danielle blogs here about her exchange of emails with totes (yes, small T) regarding the Allen case.  For those catching up, this case says that breastfeeding does not constitute part of pregnancy and therefore is not protected under Ohio’s pregnancy discrimination law, since, you know, breastfeeding isn’t part of pregnancy.

4. Danielle then goes even further in this post, digging in and discussing the lower court opinions, facts and then the Ohio Supremes’ abject failure to deal with biology.

5. You can read the opinion, but especially please read the dissent by Judge Pfeifer.

6. As a lawyer, a social worker and a mom who worked through all three of her pregnancies and pumped at work during two of them whenever I needed to within reason, including in airport bathrooms and during conference sessions when my mother would bring my infant to me, I have to tell you – there is almost nothing totes could say that would change my mind regarding how bad a legal decision the all-Republican Ohio Supreme Court made.

I agree that the facts do have relevance and importance, however, it is the crux – this idea that breastfeeding has no connection or not enough of a connection to pregnancy as to be connected to pregnancy discrimination that baffles most people who read the opinion.  It is just a completely nonsensical, impractical and not reality-based reading of the law and life.

Additionally, it is the arguments that Judge Pfeifer raises that should have been asked and answered at the lower court:

Any court’s method of analyzing cases should be (1) whether the plaintiff stated a cognizable cause of action and (2) whether the facts of the case support the alleged cause of action. It is unclear why, on this question of great general interest, this court has embarked on a backwards analysis, letting stand the appellate court’s holding that LaNisa Allen was fired for leaving her post without permission rather than for pumping her breasts in the employee washroom, thus leaving unanswered the question of whether she even asserted a cognizable cause of action. The trial court proceeded properly, although its conclusion was
incorrect: it found as a matter of law that Ohio’s pregnancy discrimination laws do not apply to protect breastfeeding mothers once their babies are born. It did as it should in ruling on a summary judgment motion: it gave the benefit of the facts to Allen and ruled on the law.

Somehow, the appellate court lost its way, and this court has followed. In its six-paragraph decision, the appellate court concludes that Allen was not fired for pumping her breasts: “Rather, she was simply and plainly terminated as an employee at will for taking an unauthorized, extra break (unlike the restroom breaks which were authorized and available to all of the employees, appellant included).” Allen v. totes/Isotoner Corp. (Apr. 7, 2008) Butler App. No. CA2007-08-196. The appellate court does not explain why Allen’s trips to the restroom outside scheduled break times were different from the restroom trips
other employees made outside scheduled break times. There is no evidence in the record about any limit on the length of unscheduled restroom breaks and no evidence that employees had to seek permission from a supervisor to take an unscheduled restroom break. There is evidence only that unscheduled bathroom breaks were allowed and that LaNisa Allen was fired for taking them. What made her breaks different?

We accept cases not necessarily because of how the result might affect the parties in the individual case, but because of how a holding might affect other persons similarly situated. Ohio’s working mothers who endure the uncomfortable sacrifice of privacy that almost necessarily accompanies their attempt to remain on the job and nourish their children deserve to know whether Ohio’s pregnancy-discrimination laws protect them.

I would hold in this case that employment discrimination due to lactation is unlawful pursuant to R.C. 4112.01(B), that clear public policy justifies an exception to the employment-at-will doctrine for women fired for reasons relating to lactation, and that LaNisa Allen deserves the opportunity—due to the state of the record—to prove her claim before a jury.

7. So – Ohio state legislators – who is going to be the first to produce a bill to redress this situation?  Or are you really going to make me run for the Ohio House 17th in order to get this done?

8. How many more reminders do we need that we have got to elect more diverse judges to the high court in Ohio?

9. And last but not least, I’ll be on Live from the Left Coast with Angie Coiro in about 45 minutes to discuss this case.  You can follow in the live-chat here or you can listen here, or do both.

By Jill Miller Zimon at 8:38 pm August 31st, 2009 in Business, Civil Rights, Courts, employment, Ethics, Gender, Health Care, Illness, leadership, Ohio, Politics, Republicans, Science, Sexism, Social Issues, Statehouse, Voting, Women | 5 Comments 

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Who knew!?

You know, I’ve been pregnant three times, gave birth to live, healthy babies three times and nursed each of my three babies.  If breastfeeding my babies was not related to pregnancy, someone tell me what was going on with my body, k?

Kate Harding at has an excellent take-down and analysis of this gobsmackingly narrow decision regarding Totes/Isotoner’s pregnancy discrimination that defies common sense.

In the strictest legal sense, the ruling is logical: Allen admitted she took unauthorized breaks, and that’s a firing offense. If she can’t prove that someone said, “Ha! Now’s our chance to get rid of her for being a woman!” then apparently, she can’t prove discrimination. But it’s manifestly weaselly to suggest that her “insubordination” can somehow be separated from the fact that she was lactating, especially since they were responding to a decision that included this colossal eye-roller:

“Allen gave birth over five months prior to her termination from [Isotoner]. Pregnant [women] who give birth and choose not to breastfeed or pump their breasts do not continue to lactate for five months. Thus, Allen’s condition of lactating was not a condition relating to pregnancy but rather a condition related to breastfeeding. Breastfeeding discrimination does not constitute gender discrimination.”

Of course not.


Hey, you know – Totes obviously has no idea just how many women wear Totes-like socks during labor and delivery.  Do they really want every hospital to stop purchasing those items from them?  How about hotels, spas – also places lactating and pregnant women like to go – often for non-pregnancy related occasions.

Let me tell you something, Totes – you don’t think breastfeeding is connected to pregnancy?  Well – I don’t think wearing your brand of socks is connected to keeping my tootsies warm anymore.

Game on.

NB:  Anyone ask the thousands of doctors across the country, who tell women to breastfeed as long as possible because of the health benefits of breastfeeding to the babies, how they feel about this decision and whether breastfeeding is connected to pregnancy? And how about how our country ranks embarrassingly high on infant mortality, with countries like Germany, South Korea, Britain – oh, and Cuba doing better? Nah – guess Totes could care less about that.

By Jill Miller Zimon at 2:09 pm August 31st, 2009 in Abortion, Civil Rights, Courts, Culture, democracy, Democrats, Elections, Gender, Health Care, Law, leadership, marriage, Ohio, Parenting, Republicans, Sexism, Social Issues, Women | 32 Comments 

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The Thomas B. Fordham Institute often speaks to issues related to charter schools and wrote an extensive and critical but constructive report in 2006 on specifically Ohio’s charter school system (which has helped it earn my respect, because they seem to recognize that sure, charters can be huge enhancements to a system but the Ohio deployment has been fraught with misdirection and misapplication of the intent behind the movement – 50% of rated charters are in academic emergency or academic watch).

This week, the New York Times ran this op-ed, “Smart Child Left Behind,” written by Tom Loveless, “…a fellow at the Brookings Institution and a member of the task force on K-12 education at Stanford’s Hoover Institution,” and Michael J. Petrilli, “…vice president for national programs and policy at the Thomas B. Fordham Institute.”  I could not agree more with pretty much every assertion and conclusion, including this:

It is clear that No Child Left Behind is helping low-achieving students. But it is also obvious that high-achieving students — who suffer from benign neglect under the law — have been making smaller gains, much as they did before it was enacted. Alas, this drug is producing no miracles.

No doubt, some will claim victory: We are closing the achievement gap between our top and bottom students! But is that our only national goal in education? What might happen if federal law encouraged educators to improve the performance of all students? Our analysis of the federal data identified tens of thousands of high achievers who are black, Hispanic or poor. They are excelling at their studies, often against great odds. Shouldn’t we be addressing their educational needs?

As we look for ways to improve No Child Left Behind, we must recognize that our top students still have much to learn.

Emphasis is mine.  I pray and wish that it would be that of many, many others as well.

By Jill Miller Zimon at 8:48 am August 29th, 2009 in activism, Civil Rights, democracy, Education, Government, Law, leadership, Parenting, Politics, Social Issues, Youth | 4 Comments 

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