It’s Ladies Night (Month)

It’s Women’s History Month!!!  It started in 1987 as a celebration of women’s contributions to history, culture and society. Women’s history Month, like Black History began as a weeklong event. In 1980, President, Jimmy Carter issued the first presidential proclamation declaring the week of March 8, which coincided with International Women’s Day, as National Women’s History Week. The next year, Congress followed suit, passing a resolution establishing a national celebration. Six years later, the National Women’s History Project successfully petitioned Congress to expand the event to the entire month of March.

OK, Just Relax.

A white author, Marieke Lucas Rijneveld, backed out of doing a Dutch translation of Amanda Gorman’s upcoming collection, The Hill We Climb.  She pulled out of the job because of significant backlash that the job should have been given to a black writer to translate. Journalist and activist Janice Deul was outspoken and questioned why Meulenhoff, the publisher, had not chosen a translator who was, like Gorman, a “spoken-word artist, young, female and unapologetically Black.” Guardian: Amanda Gorman’s white translator quits

Not sure this “outrage” is warranted. Additionally, it seems Amanda picked her to translate, so why is the internet mad? What is special is that Amanada has an upcoming collection that will be translated into Dutch. So let’s celebrate that and she should be able to choose who she wants to translate her work. 

Kidnapping is Big Business

Kidnapping is the new growth industry in Nigeria and those being kidnapped are not just the rich. They are kidnapping children from all economic backgrounds. Usually the perpetrators are just groups of men taking advantage of the easy access to guns and ineffective policing.  

 “Since last December, mass kidnappings of girls and boys at boarding schools in northwest Nigeria have been happening more and more frequently — at least one every three weeks. Just last Friday, more than 300 girls were taken from their school in Zamfara state, and the week before, more than 40 children and adults were abducted from a boarding school in Niger state. They were freed on Saturday.” According to SBM Intelligence, a Nigerian intelligence platform, at least $18 million was paid to kidnappers from June 2011 to March 2020. NYT: Nigeria’s Boarding Schools Have Become a Hunting Ground for Kidnappers; WSJ: Inside Nigeria’s Largest-Ever Kidnapping of Schoolgirls

Voting Rights and Wrongs

The Supreme Court will hear arguments today on two Arizona provisions that could affect the future of the Voting Rights Acts. It may cause the court to interpret Section 2, of the Voting Rights Act provision which provides that states cannot impose any rule “which results in a denial or abridgment” of the right to vote on the basis of race. The issues:  “a longstanding rule disallowing votes cast in the wrong precinct, and a measure passed by the legislature in 2016 that prohibits get-out-the-vote operatives from collecting and delivering vote-by-mail ballots. A number of states have similar policies.”

Democrats who sued Arizona argue that “there were state-specific historical and societal reasons why the measures discriminated against Native American, Latino and Black voters. The state, supported by Republicans who intervened in the case, said the rules were neutral, reasonable approaches for running fair and secure elections.” WSJ: Voting Rights in Spotlight as Supreme Court Considers Arizona Election Rules With the conservative court currently deciding this matter, hope is not high that there will be any voting rights left after this ruling.

In other voting news, Georgia House Republicans passed HB 531, with a 97-72 vote. HB 531 is an elections bill that would “enact more restrictions on absentee voting and cut back on weekend early voting hours favored by larger counties.” GOP Rep. Barry Fleming, who chairs the House Special Committee on Election Integrity, said the 66-page measure “is designed to begin to bring back the confidence of our voters back into our election system” NPR: Georgia House Passes Elections Bill That Would Limit Absentee And Early Voting Yes, this works if loss of confidence means you didn’t win because you didn’t get enough votes.

Digital Birth Control?

Clue, an app  best known for period tracking, recently announced it has FDA clearance for use as digital birth control. Clue says it can help prevent pregnancy based only on the start date of a user’s period. It calculates the window where someone could get pregnant based on statistical modeling.

“It personalizes over time. So as the individual puts in their cycle day one then we’re able to personalize the window of their high risk days vs their low risk days,” Clue’s chief medical officer Lynae Brayboy. The company plans to launch some time this year. Verge:Clue gets FDA clearance for digital birth control. Hope this doesn’t end up like the game Clue, using the app to determine which day you actually conceived Junior. 

Power in Texas

Following more than 400 complaints about Griddy in less than two weeks, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton is suing. Paxton says “the electricity provider passed along massive increases during winter storms, leaving some customers to face up to $5,000 in power bills. Paxton’s lawsuit says Griddy deceived customers when it promised low “wholesale” energy prices.” NPR: Texas Attorney General Sues Griddy, Saying Electricity Provider Misled Customers 

Brazos Electric Power Cooperative, the largest power cooperative in Texas, filed for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy. They cited a massive bill from the state’s electricity grid operator after last month’s storms. The  company says it was unable to pay the $1.8 Billion bill from the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT). Brazo says ERCOT set the wholesale rate at the maximum price of $9,000 per megawatt hour for more than four straight days and imposed other ancillary fees totaling more than $25,000 per megawatt hour. Brazos said in its court filing, “The consequences of these prices were devastating.” So in an effort to not pass the cost on to customers, they filed for bankruptcy protections.  NPR:Texas Energy Co-Op Files For Bankruptcy After Storm, High Bill