Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Until the violence stops

Two weekends ago I watched both the Chinese and English performances of the Vagina Monologues. The first time I had heard about the productions, I thought to myself, "what kind of production is this?" Would there be sections that would make me blush? Would there be moaning and the speaking of words not usually spoken in public? Well, yes...but there were also portions that would move me, enlighten me. The most moving part of the performance was the focus of this year's Spotlight Campaign: Justice to Comfort Women. These so-called "comfort women" were civilians that were forced by the Japanese military to become sex slaves during World War II. I vaguely remembered hearing briefly about it during high school, but hadn't paid the issue much attention. Four of these surviving women—now in their 80s and 90s—bravely took the stage. Their stories are shocking, harrowing, tragic…and I am grateful that these women have gone public with their stories to demand the apologies owed to them so that my daughters, sisters, mothers, and I will not face that terror.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Chew on these numbers

The Christian Science Monitor recently reported that "the richest 1 percent of Americans now get about 15 percent of total US income, close to the 18 percent the same small group had in 1913."

An article in the same paper reports the next day on the economic strides Australia has made in recent years. Despite these gains, Australians reportedly think that the country has "become a meaner place over the past 10 years" and have some misgivings about the growth. Income inequality has increased: "in 1995, the richest 1 percent garnered 5 percent of the national income; now it's 9 percent."

So, Australians are disturbed that the richest 1 percent of the population has 9 percent of the national income; in constrast, the richest 1 percent in the U.S. has 15 percent of the national income, up from the all-time low of 8 percent in 1963. Where's the discussion in the U.S.?

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

The little things

This is an interesting article about the power of small changes. What small change will I make today?