Two years ago, she stumbled onto the truth that an alarming number of babies were dying in Vernal — at least 10 in 2013 alone, what seemed to her a shockingly high infant mortality rate for such a small town. That summer, she raised her hand and put the obvious question to Joe Shaffer, director of the TriCounty Health Department: Why are so many of our babies dying?
People think of federal prison as a lockup for the nation's worst criminals. The OITNB writers got pretty creative, from Pennsatucky murdering a nurse for commenting on her seven abortions to Miss Claudette trafficking children to clean houses. But while it may not make for an exciting backstory, six in 10 women in real federal prison are there for nonviolent drug crimes. For every woman who has committed murder there are 99 drug offenders.
You wake up in the morning and find yourself back to back in bed with an unconscious violinist. A famous unconscious violinist. He has been found to have a fatal kidney ailment, and the Society of Music Lovers has canvassed all the available medical records and found that you alone have the right blood type to help. They have therefore kidnapped you, and last night the violinist’s circulatory system was plugged into yours, so that your kidneys can be used to extract poisons from his blood as well as your own. The director of the hospital now tells you, “Look, we’re sorry the Society of Music Lovers did this to you—we would never have permitted it if we had known. But still, they did it, and the violinist is now plugged into you. To unplug you would be to kill him. But never mind, it’s only for nine months. By then he will have recovered from his ailment, and can safely be unplugged from you.” Is it morally incumbent on you to accede to this situation? No doubt it would be very nice of you if you did, a great kindness. But do you have to accede to it? What if it were not nine months, but nine years? Or longer still? What if the director of the hospital says, “Tough luck, I agree, but you’ve now got to stay in bed, with the violinist plugged into you, for the rest of your life. Because remember this. All persons have a right to life, and violinists are persons. Granted you have a right to decide what happens in and to your body, but a person’s right to life outweighs your right to decide what happens in and to your body. So you cannot ever be unplugged from him.” I imagine you would regard this as outrageous…
Rob Duke's insight:
What do you think about this argument? Should someone else be able to make this decision for another person?
A former real-life inmate named Joanne Archibald emphatically agreed. She told me she's a fan of OITNB, but believes that the show's treatment of motherhood "has been one of their weak points." Archibald's personal story, oddly enough, mirrors many of the same elements of Piper Chapman's. While in college, Archibald got busted carrying drugs over state lines for someone she was close to, never thinking that there would be any real consequences to her actions. (Another depressing prison fact: Two-thirds of incarcerated women are there for nonviolent offenses.) After getting caught at an airport she was sentenced to one year and one day in a federal prison, just as her infant son was turning seven months old.
Those who say women are better suited to taking charge of today’s companies also lean on two other arguments. The first is that women are better at “androgynous” management—that is, combining supposedly “male” and “female” characteristics into a powerful mixture. This is particularly valuable in businesses undergoing great upheaval, which need a combination of command-and-control and caring-and-sharing. The second is that women differ from men not so much in their leadership styles as in the values that they bring to the job. They are much more influenced by compassion and fairness than men.
Rob Duke's insight:
Equal, but it's all in the individuals not the gender.
Munchausen syndrome by proxy is a mental illness and a form of child abuse. The caretaker of a child, usually a mother, either makes up fake symptoms or causes real symptoms to make it look like the child is sick.
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