Posts

August 26 is Women’s Equality Day

women's equality dayToday is Women’s Equality Day, created in 1972 to commemorate the date in 1920 whenafter decades of effort by activists across the country, the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was ratified, granting women the right to vote.

Fifty years later, on August 26, 1970, feminist Betty Friedan led a nationwide protest called the Women’s Strike for Equality to demand the fair treatment of women in the workplace, in school and at home.

U.S. Representative Bella Abzug championed the establishment of a day to symbolize the rights that women (and men) had struggled to make a reality.

On August 26, 1972, the first Women’s Equality Day took place. The Joint Resolution of Congress reads:

Designating August 26 of each year as Women’s Equality Day
WHEREAS, the women of the United States have been treated as second-class citizens and have not been entitled the full rights and privileges, public or private, legal or institutional, which are available to male citizens of the United States; and
WHEREAS, the women of the United States have united to assure that these rights and privileges are available to all citizens equally regardless of sex; and
WHEREAS, the women of the United States have designated August 26, the anniversary date of the certification of the Nineteenth Amendment, as symbol of the continued fight for equal rights: and
WHEREAS, the women of United States are to be commended and supported in their organizations and activities,
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, that August 26th of each year is designated as Women’s Equality Day, and the President is authorized and requested to issue a proclamation annually in commemoration of that day in 1920, on which the women of America were first given the right to vote, and that day in 1970, on which a nationwide demonstration for women’s rights took place.

In 1981, Congress enacted Public Law 97-28, designating the week beginning March 7, 1982, as Women’s History Week. President Ronald Reagan issued Presidential Proclamation 4903 stating, in part:

NOW, THEREFORE, I, RONALD REAGAN, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim the week beginning March 7, 1982, as Women’s History Week. Recognizing that the many contributions of American women have at times been overlooked in the annals of American history, I encourage all citizens to observe this important week by participating in appropriate ceremonies and activities planned by individuals, governmental agencies, and private institutions and associations throughout the country.

The practice continued until 1987 when, in response to petitioning by the National Women’s History Project, Congress passed Public Law 100-9 declaring March Women’s History Month. It passed a new resolution each year asking the president to authorize the observance. Since 1995, Presidents Clinton, Bush, Obama and *cough* Trump have issued annual proclamations renewing Women’s History Month.

The month was chosen because International Women’s Day falls on March 8th, despite the fact that the 1908 garment workers’ strike it was meant to memorialize didn’t happen on that date. The first known International Women’s Day gathering in the U.S. took place at New York’s Carnegie Hall on February 27, 1910.

In 2011, Representative Carolyn Maloney introduced a bill calling for the establishment of Susan B. Anthony Day honoring the birthday on February 15, 1820, of the abolitionist and suffragette. Thus far, it is observed in only five states. No national holiday honors any woman’s birthday.

Equal Pay

On June 10, 1963, President John F. Kennedy signed the Equal Pay Act. Its stated purpose: “to prohibit discrimination on account of sex in the payment of wages by employers engaged in commerce or in the production of goods for commerce.”

In 1963, women made 59 cents on average for every dollar earned by men, based on Census figures of median wages of full-time, year-round workers.

On July 2, 1964, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act, after pushing it through Congress to fulfill the plan Kennedy made before he was assassinated. It outlawed discrimination based on race, color, religion, national origin or gender.

In April 1996, the National Committee on Pay Equity (NCPE) originated National Equal Pay Day to promote public awareness of the gap between men’s and women’s wages. Each year, a date is chosen in April to illustrate how far into the new year women have to work to earn the same wages that men make in the previous year. In 2016, April 16 was chosen.

According to the US Congress Joint Economic Committee, a woman earns 80 cents for every dollar a man is paid for the same job. This statistic doesn’t tell the whole story, though. Black women make an average of 62 cents and Latinas earn 54 cents for every dollar paid to a white, non-Hispanic man. At this rate, the pay gap won’t close until 2059, according to the Institute for Women’s Policy Research.

Happy Women’s Equality Day! Perhaps when we’re equal every day of the year we won’t need to create any more holidays to celebrate it.

Copyright © 2017 Worldwide Weird Holidays

May 23 is World Turtle Day

world turtle dayToday is World Turtle Day, a holiday created in 2000 by non-profit organization American Tortoise Rescue (ATR) to celebrate turtles and tortoises and to protect their habitats.

Susan Tellem and her husband Marshall have rescued and re-homed more than 3,000 turtles since cofounding ATR in 1990. Ten years later, they started World Turtle Day because, as Susan told the Huffington Post, “Turtles are not as popular as cats and dogs, so interest, awareness and understanding is pretty slim. This day is a good way to educate people about how to care for turtles, and to learn what danger they’re in and how to be more aware of what they need.”

The oldest turtle fossil found to date was unearthed in 2007 in China’s Guizhou province. Discovered in rocks of the late Triassic Period, it is estimated to have lived 220 million years ago, during the age of the dinosaurs. It is considered a transitional creature, an aquatic turtle that had armor solely on its underbelly and a mouth full of teeth, earning it the name Odontochelys semitestacea (“toothed turtle with half-shell”). By comparison, human evolution dates back a mere 2.5 million years.

While researching the connection between dinosaurs and turtles, we noticed several groups that assert the planet is, in reality, only six thousand years old. Here, one website explains how it knows fossil records have been faked:

According to evolutionists, the dinosaurs “ruled the Earth” for 140 million years, dying out about 65 million years ago. However, scientists do not dig up anything labeled with those ages. They only uncover dead dinosaurs (i.e., their bones), and their bones do not have labels attached telling how old they are. The idea of millions of years of evolution is just the evolutionists’ story about the past. No scientist was there to see the dinosaurs live through this supposed dinosaur age. In fact, there is no proof whatsoever that the world and its fossil layers are millions of years old. No scientist observed dinosaurs die. Scientists only find the bones in the here and now, and because many of them are evolutionists, they try to fit the story of the dinosaurs into their view.

The contention that fossils were not buried with labels must be correct since they died before the existence of tombstones and Post-It notes (or did they?). If a person digs into a garbage dump and finds a ham sandwich ten feet down, mightn’t he surmise, even without the benefit of scientific instrumentation, that it is older than the one his mom made for him that morning, in spite of the fact that he has unearthed it in “the here and now?”

It’s also a fact that no scientist has observed a dinosaur live or die. The logic is indisputable. We’ll go on record and say that no one alive today has ever hung out with Abraham Lincoln. Very few of us have met Stephen King. Yet most of us are pretty sure of their existence, even though they aren’t mentioned in the Bible. (We don’t want spoil the surprise, but one of them is working on a new book right now!)

But we digress. Turtles and tortoises are remarkable animals. Both are cold-blooded, breathe air and lay eggs on land. Generally speaking, tortoises live on land, are poor swimmers and have stumpy feet suited to walking very slowly on land. Turtles spend their time in the water and have streamlined bodies and webbed feet or flippers they are unable to retract.

The illegal pet trade puts tortoises at risk; transportation stresses them and many die during shipment from Russia or other far-flung locations. To combat this problem and reduce the demand for illegal imports, ART urges people to refrain from buying them at pet stores and adopt instead from one of the country’s many turtle rescue groups. Petfinder is an excellent resource, too.

All sea turtle species are listed as endangered or threatened under the Endangered Species Act, mainly due to bycatch, accidental capture in fishermen’s nets and trawls. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) studies aquatic environments, works to reduce bycatch and develops recovery plans with the goal of increasing sea turtle numbers until they can be removed from the list.

In the meantime, everyone can help by keeping the beach free of litter and watching out when boating in an area where turtles live. If you find a tortoise in the middle of the road, carry it to safety and be sure to point it in the direction it was headed. Otherwise, it will instinctively turn around and walk back into danger.

If you find a turtle and can’t release it into the wild, soak it in tepid water and put it in a box with a lid. Keep it away from pets, children and stressful noises; contact an organization like ATR to help you care for it until a pet rescue group can secure it.

If you’d like to learn more about these fascinating creatures, check out National Geographic‘s article about a newly-discovered giant Galápagos tortoise; Live Science‘s turtle facts; and Mother Nature Network‘s post about 19 weird and wonderful turtle and tortoise species.

Have a happy World Turtle Day!

Copyright © 2017 Worldwide Weird Holidays

April 16 is National Stress Awareness Day

national stress awareness dayToday is National Stress Awareness Day. It was created in 1992 by Dr. Morton Orman of the Health Resource Network, a nonprofit health education organization.

We’re all aware of stress. Many of us are steeped in it right now. Acute stress can be a positive thing, allowing us to react to upsetting or dangerous situations. But when our lives are filled with seemingly endless problems and anxieties, stress becomes chronic, putting us on constant high alert and exhausting our bodies and minds over time.

Sometimes the most stressful—and inadvertently hilarious—advice doctors, friends and strangers can give is that we must reduce stress. Life is undeniably chaotic. If you can drop everything and move to Bora Bora, by all means, do that.

The rest of us can breathe deeply, look at the sky, take a walk, eat a cookie, hug somebody, draw a bubble bath, watch YouTube clips of kittens. It may not be a permanent fix, but we know what calms us down and makes us happy in the moment.

By the way, if you prefer kale to cookies, be our guest. One thing we don’t recommend right now is picking up a book on stress relief. Maybe tomorrow. Today, have a happy National Stress Awareness Day. Unless you don’t feel like it. No pressure.

Copyright © 2017 Worldwide Weird Holidays

National Day of the Horse

National Day of the HorseToday is the National Day of the Horse. On November 18, 2004, the U.S. Senate unanimously passed S.R. 452, described as:

A resolution designating December 13, 2004, as “National Day of the Horse” and encouraging the people of the United States to be mindful of the contribution of horses to the economy, history, and character of the United States.

The resolution goes on to state that “the horse is a living link to the history of the United States;” “without horses, the economy, history, and character of the United States would be profoundly different;” and “horses are a vital part of the collective experience of the United States and deserve protection and compassion.”

What the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives have failed to do is pass a permanent federal ban on the slaughter of horses for human consumption. The American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act (AHSPA) was passed by the House on September 7, 2006. It had to be approved by the Senate as well in order to become law. But the bill was sent to a Senate committee, where it languished and eventually died because it was never approved for a full vote.

It was reintroduced on January 7, 2007, and sent to the House Agriculture Committee, which failed to approve it for a vote, thus killing the same bill it had passed four months before. On Jan 17, 2007, the Senate put forth its own version; it, too, failed to reach a vote, officially dying on January 3, 2009, when the 110th Congressional session ended. A bipartisan effort to revive the AHSPA in 2011 went nowhere.

While numerous state legislatures have enacted laws outlawing the practice, the federal government has sidestepped the issue, choosing instead to add language to its budget proposals that will indirectly impact businesses that slaughter horses.

A line item that denies payment of federal inspectors for time spent evaluating horses deprives an operation the opportunity to receive a USDA seal of approval. Without it, the meat can’t be sold for human consumption. (In 2006, the USDA countered by issuing CFR 352.19, a regulation that would allow companies to circumvent the funding ban by paying for their own inspections.)

In 2014, President Obama signed a budget that included the prohibition against funding for horse inspections. Although many hailed it as a momentous step, others saw it as just one more in a series of temporary fixes that must be requested and granted anew with each successive budget proposal. It did (and does) nothing to prevent U.S. horses from being shipped to Mexico or Canada for slaughter, their meat then exported worldwide.

The protection of this majestic animal isn’t all that’s at stake. Horses are dosed with compounds that accumulate in their tissues and can be toxic to humans. Phenylbutazone, a pain medication routinely given to horses, is known to be carcinogenic to people, especially children; trace amounts can cause potentially lethal aplastic anemia.

Since horses aren’t raised for human consumption, there are no regulations in place to protect anyone who might one day consume their meat. That is more of a risk than most of us think. Horse meat has been discovered in, among other things, school lunches and hospital meals. It’s possible that we’ve unwittingly eaten some already.

There is a permanent solution called the Safeguard American Food Exports Act (SAFE), its stated goal:

Amends the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act to deem equine (horses and other members of the equidae family) parts to be an unsafe food additive or animal drug.

Prohibits the knowing sale or transport of equines or equine parts in interstate or foreign commerce for purposes of human consumption.

It was introduced in the Senate on March 12, 2013. What happened?

Read twice and referred to the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions.

Clearly, there is more work to be done. Each year, approximately 150,000 horses—including pregnant mares and foals—are packed into trucks and taken to Mexico and Canada. Conditions are deplorable as the only goal is to keep the horses barely alive until they are slaughtered and their meat packaged for sale to humans.

It’s not too late to help. The SAFE Act (S. 1214/H.R. 1942) was revived in 2015 and is still knocking around in committee. Find your Congresspeople on govtrack.us and tell them to keep it alive. Someone should take a stand against this big, cruel business. It might as well be us.

Happy National Day of the Horse!

Copyright 2016 Worldwide Weird Holidays