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Kiss me, I'm irate: St. Patrick's line irks some Irish
Retailer Urban Outfitters is under fire for selling St. Patrick's Day merchandise featuring stereotypes of Irish-Americans.
March 6th, 2012
04:27 PM ET

Kiss me, I'm irate: St. Patrick's line irks some Irish

By Jason Kessler, CNN

(CNN) – A new line of St. Patrick's Day merchandise from Urban Outfitters is raising Irish ire.

Leading up to the March 17th holiday, the hipster-oriented clothing company is selling 33 products ranging from t-shirts to shot glasses in its St. Patrick's Day Shop.

Of those, 23 reference drinking.

A $24 scoopneck tank reads: "Irish I Were Drunk." "Leprechaun Piss" is emblazoned across an $18 growler. A $20 trucker hat captioned "Irish Yoga" and "Downward Facing Upchuck" depicts a hungover stick figure on all fours, vomiting four-leaf clovers.

Seamus Boyle, president of the Ancient Order of Hibernians in America, a large Irish-American organization, wrote an open letter to Urban Outfitters founder Richard Hayne demanding that he "immediately remove the disgusting products you have for sale in your stores depicting the Irish as drunks and defaming the Irish Nation and the Patron Saint of Ireland, St Patrick." FULL POST

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Filed under: Economy • Ethnicity • History • Pop culture • Who we are
Engage: Dept. of Ed: Black, Latino students given fewer opportunities, harsher discipline
March 6th, 2012
01:17 PM ET

Engage: Dept. of Ed: Black, Latino students given fewer opportunities, harsher discipline

Engage with news and opinions from around the web about under-reported stories from undercovered communities.

Black and Latino students are far more likely to receive harsh disciplinary action and far less likely to attend schools offering college-prep courses –Reuters

Lawsuit: 8 US service members accuse military of tolerating "staggering" amount of sexual assaults  –The Today Show

Tribe sues stores, companies selling alcohol illegally on reservation; alcohol prohibition debated –The New York Times

Poll: Economy top issue for Latino voters, and immigration a more "personal" issue –Fox News Latino

Analysis: Why have about one-third of sitting black lawmakers been investigated by an ethics probe? –National Journal

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March 6th, 2012
12:56 PM ET

Opinion: Insurance coverage for birth control is a right, not an 'entitlement'

Editor’s note: Carolyn Edgar is a lawyer and writer in New York City. She writes about social issues, parenting and relationships on her blog, Carolyn Edgar.  You can follow her on Twitter @carolynedgar.

By Carolyn Edgar, Special to CNN

(CNN) – Rush Limbaugh may have offered a tepid apology to Sandra Fluke for his vicious, unprincipled attack, but it’s doubtful Limbaugh is truly sorry for his choice of words. By painting Fluke, the Georgetown University law student whom he excoriated for her pro-birth control testimony before Congress, as a “slut” who wants taxpayers to pay her to have sex, Limbaugh attempted to give the GOP more weapons to use against President Obama and the Affordable Care Act. In typical Limbaugh fashion, his methods may have been sloppy, but effective.

Limbaugh’s reframing of health insurance coverage for birth control – a right supported by the Bush Administration without question for over a decade – as yet another “entitlement” sought by greedy liberals was not lost on conservatives, even as they chided him for his poor choice of words. A Wall Street Journal opinion writer, for example, argued that Fluke “went to Congress looking for a handout.” Never mind that Fluke spoke not of her own sex life and her own personal use of birth control, but of the experiences of friends who were denied access under Georgetown’s student health plan to birth control pills used to treat a variety of medical conditions. Notable in Fluke’s testimony was the story she told of a friend who lost an ovary to polycystic ovarian disease because Georgetown refused to provide her birth control pills even though, as a lesbian, the woman was not concerned about pregnancy prevention.

Referring to insurance coverage for birth control as an “entitlement” is false and misleading. Fluke did not go to Congress seeking “free birth control,” but to argue in favor of a principle that has been law for over a decade. In December 2000, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ruled that companies that provided prescription drugs to their employees but didn't provide birth control violated Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, which prevents discrimination on the basis of sex. Under the EEOC ruling, employers who offered men preventative care medicine such as erectile dysfunction treatment also had to provide women preventative care medicine such as birth control.

As working Americans know, employer health insurance coverage is not free. Employees pay part of the cost for these insurance programs through payroll deductions. Most employer insurance programs require co-pays for doctor visits; thus, obtaining a prescription for birth control isn’t “free” for most employees, with or without a prescription co-pay. University student health plans also typically require students to pay annual premiums, along with tuition payments and other expenses. It is a gross mischaracterization to claim that a woman who expects the insurance she pays for to cover the medication she needs is looking for taxpayer-funded “entitlements.”

Limbaugh is merely the latest conservative to speak of birth control as something used only by women with loose morals so they can have free, easy sex. Rick Santorum has said about contraception: “It’s not OK, because it’s a license to do things in a sexual realm that is counter to how things are supposed to be.” In other words, it’s bad for women to have sex without the fear of conception. Conservatives deny waging a war on women and women’s health, yet they continue to speak of women’s sexuality in Victorian terms. FULL POST

Q&A: The Lady King of Otuam
Before being chosen as ruler of her Ghanaian hometown, King Peggy was merely Peggielene Bartels, secretary.
March 6th, 2012
07:00 AM ET

Q&A: The Lady King of Otuam

By Stephanie Siek, CNN

(CNN) – Imagine receiving a call in the middle of the night, announcing that you had been elected ruler of a hometown you had never lived in, only visited. Now imagine that town is on another continent, thousands of miles away.

That scenario became real for Peggielene Bartels, who was chosen to become nana, or king, of her home village of Otuam, Ghana in 2008. Lady King Peggy, as she is known, was the niece of the late king, but never dreamed that she was even in the running – after all, Otuam had never had a female ruler.

But as a blood relative of the previous king, her name was one on a list of 25 who were eligible for the position. Rituals intended to divine the will of her ancestors indicated that she was their choice. Elders had poured a cup of alcohol to the ground, while saying the names of the candidates. When her name was called, the liquid steamed instead of soaking into the ground – a clear sign that she was the chosen leader. Not long after that came the phone call that changed her life.

Now she's telling her story in a recently released autobiography, "King Peggy: An American Secretary, Her Royal Destiny, and the Inspiring Story of How She Changed an African Village," written with Eleanor Herman.

FULL POST

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Filed under: Black in America • Community • Education • Ethnicity • Gender • Politics • Who we are • Women