Divided We Stand

Divided We Stand: The Battle Over Women’s Rights and Family Values That Polarized American Politics by Marjorie J. Spruill

HQ 1421 .S683 2017

“Gloria Steinem was quoted in 2015 (in the New Yorker) as saying the National Women’s Conference in 1977 ‘may take the prize as the most important event nobody knows about.’ After the United Nations established International Women’s Year (IWY) in 1975, Congress mandated and funded state conferences to elect delegates to attend the National Women’s Conference in Houston in 1977, where Bella Abzug, Gloria Steinem, and other feminists endorsed a platform supporting abortion rights, the Equal Rights Amendment, and gay rights. Across town, Phyllis Schlafly, Lottie Beth Hobbs, and the conservative women’s movement held a massive rally to protest federally funded feminism and launch a pro-family movement.

Divided We Stand explores the role social issues have played in politics by reprising the battle between feminists and their conservative challengers, leading to Democrats supporting women’s rights and Republicans casting themselves as the party of family values. As the 2016 presidential election made clear, the women’s rights movement and the conservative women’s movement have irrevocably affected the course of modern American politics. We cannot fully understand the present without appreciating the pivotal events that transpired in Houston and immediately thereafter.”
– publisher description

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Because of Sex

Because of Sex: One Law, Ten Cases, and Fifty Years That Changed American Women’s Lives at Work
by Gillian Thomas

LF 3467 .T49 2016

“Best known as a monumental achievement of the civil rights movement, the 1964 Civil Rights Act also revolutionized the lives of America’s working women. Title VII of the law made it illegal to discriminate “because of sex.” But that simple phrase didn’t mean much until ordinary women began using the law to get justice on the job – and some took their fights all the way to the Supreme Court. Among them were Ida Phillips, denied an assembly line job because she had a preschool-age child; Kim Rawlinson, who fought to become a prison guard – a “man’s job”; Mechelle Vinson, who brought a lawsuit for sexual abuse before “sexual harassment” even had a name; Ann Hopkins, denied partnership at a Big Eight accounting firm because the men in charge thought she needed “a course at charm school”; and, most recently, Peggy Young,a  UPS truck driver, forced to take an unpaid leave while pregnant because she asked for temporary reprieve from heavy lifting.

These unsung heroines’ victories, and those of the other women profiled in Because of Sex, dismantled a “Mad Men” world where women could only hope to play supporting roles; where sexual harassment was “just the way things are”; and where pregnancy meant getting a pink slip.

Through first-person accounts and a vivid narrative, Because of Sex tells the story of how one law, our highest court, and a few tenacious women changed the American workplace forever.”
– publisher description

Deciding What’s True

Deciding What’s True: The Rise of Political Fact-Checking in American Journalism
by Lucas Graves

PN 4784 .O24 G73 2016

“Over the past decade, outlets such as PolitiFact, FactCheck.org, and the Washington Post’s Fact Checker have shaken up the political world by holding public figures accountable for what they say. Deciding What’s True draws on Lucas Graves’s unique access to the U.S. newsrooms leading the increasingly global fact-checking movement. Graves vividly recounts the routines of the journalists at three of these hyperconnected, technologically innovative news organizations. He shows how they tackle thorny political debates and reveals the values that drive their stories. He also plots a compelling, personality-driven history of the fact-checking movement and its recent evolution from the blogosphere, exploring its revolutionary challenge to journalistic ethics and practice.”
– publisher description

Bush

Bush by Jean Edward Smith

E 902 .S59 2016

“Nearly eight years after George W. Bush left the White House, his legacy still shapes American policy at home and abroad. Award-winning historian and biographer Jean Smith has written the most complete account yet of the Bush presidency in this revelatory biography of America’s forty-third president.

A lackluster student with a fondness for alcohol, “W” became a born-again Christian and turned his life around. His deep religious faith rescued his character, but it gave him a worldview that oversimplified complicated problems. For Bush, life was a struggle between good and evil, and he never doubted that he was God’s agent for good. In the fight against the evil of terrorism, other countries were either with us or against us, as he once said. Certain of the morality of his actions, he had no misgivings about detaining terrorist suspects indefinitely at Guantánamo or authorizing unconstitutional surveillance activities in the name of fighting terrorism.

Bush called himself “the decider,” and Smith says that it was an apt description. Others have insisted that Vice President Dick Cheney made key foreign policy decisions in the Bush White House, but Smith shows that it was the president who was in charge, often acting without or even against the counsel of his advisers. No other president in modern times acted with such self-assured autonomy.

Smith credits Bush with leading the global fight against AIDS, improving relations with China, reducing nuclear arsenals with the Russians, and insisting on higher educational standards with “No Child Left Behind.” But he led the country into the disastrous war in Iraq in response to the 9/11 terror attacks even though Iraq had nothing to do with the attacks. The war in Iraq dominated his presidency, and by toppling Saddam he paved the way for the rise of ISIS. He had to violate his own political philosophy to save the economy from collapse in 2008, but he still left his successor with the worst recession in seventy years. Not surprisingly, he exited the White House with the lowest approval ratings of any president in decades.”
– publisher description

Dirty Words and Filthy Pictures

Dirty Words and Filthy Pictures: Film and the First Amendment

Dirty Words and Filthy Pictures: Film and the First Amendment by Jeremy Geltzer

PN 1995.62 .G45 2015

“From the earliest days of cinema, scandalous films such as The Kiss (1896) attracted audiences eager to see provocative images on screen. With controversial content, motion pictures challenged social norms and prevailing laws at the intersection of art and entertainment. Today, the First Amendment protects a wide range of free speech, but this wasn’t always the case. For the first fifty years, movies could be censored and banned by city and state officials charged with protecting the moral fabric of their communities. Once film was embraced under the First Amendment by the Supreme Court’s Miracle decision in 1952, new problems pushed notions of acceptable content even further.

Dirty Words & Filty Pictures explores movies that changed the law and resulted in greater creative freedom for all. Relying on primary sources that include court decisions, contemporary periodicals, state censorship ordinances, and studio production codes, Jeremy Geltzer offers a comprehensive and fascinating history of cinema and free speech, from the earliest films of Thomas Edison to the impact of pornography and the Internet. With incisive case studies of risqué pictures, subversive foreign films, and banned B-movies, he reveals how the legal battles over film content changed long-held interpretations of the Constitution, expanded personal freedoms, and opened a new era of free speech. An important contribution to film studies and media law, Geltzer’s work presents the history of film and the First Amendment with an unprecedented level of detail.”
– publisher description

Ctrl + Z

Ctrl + Z: The Right to be Forgotten by Meg Leta Jones

K 3264 .C65 J66 2016

“‘The Internet never forgets.’
That’s the adage of the Digital Age, a time when the information we share or is collected threatens to linger forever. The Internet is full of personal data from our pasts that can haunt our futures. The consequences can be serious, affecting relationships, employment, academic success, and any number of other unforeseeable opportunities.

One possible solution to this threat is a digital right to be forgotten. Such a right, like the one established in the European Union, could mean that Google (and other Internet entities) would have a legal duty to delete, hide, or anonymize information at the request of users from around the world. Critics of the idea say that it’s an attack on free speech and open access and that it is technologically impossible. What does a digital right to be forgotten mean for the United States and the global Internet community?

Ctrl + Z breaks down the debate and provides guidance for a way forward. Our existing perspectives, it argues, are too limited: we imagine that we can either easily forget everything or that we can forget nothing at all. By looking at new theories of privacy and organizing the many potential applications of law and technology, scholar Meg Leta Jones offers us a new set of nuanced choices. And to help us choose, she provides a digital information life cycle, reflects on particular legal cultures, and analyzes international interoperability. In the end, Jones argues, the right to be forgotten can be innovative, liberating, and globally viable.”
– publisher description

Believers, Thinkers, and Founders

Believers, Thinkers, and Founders: How We Came to Be One Nation Under God by Kevin Seamus Hasson

BR 516 .H327 2016

“In Believers, Thinkers, and Founders: How We Came to Be One Nation Under God, Kevin Seamus Hasson – founder and president emeritus of the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty – offers a refreshing resolution to a familiar conundrum: If there is real religious freedom in America, how is it that our government keeps invoking God? He’s everywhere – from our currency to the Pledge of Allegiance. Isn’t that all entirely too religious? And just whose God are we talking about anyway? If we are intellectually honest, shouldn’t we scrub all these references to God from our public life?

Yet the Declaration of Independence says that god is the source of our rights. “The traditional position,” writes Hasson, “is that our fundamental human rights – including those secured by the First Amendment – are endowed to us by the Creator, and that it would be perilous to permit the government ever to repudiate that point.” America has steadfastly repeated that for more than two hundred years, throughout all branches and levels of government.

To say that there is no Creator who endows us with rights, Hasson argues, “is to do more than simply tinker with one of the most famous one-liners in history; it is to change the starting point of our whole explanation of who we are as Americans, and, ultimately, why our government is a limited one in the first place.”

What to do?

Hasson looks closely at the nation’s founding and sees a solution in the classical distinction between faith and reason. The existence of God, he points out, can traditionally be known by reason alone, while who God is can only be seen in faith. By recognizing the distinction between the “self-evident” Creator referred to in the Declaration of Independence and God as revealed in our faith traditions, we can move past the culture wars that plague us. In short, Hasson argues that we can have a robust First Amendment without abandoning our natural rights.

In Believers, Thinkers, and Founders, Hasson examines that idea while looking at a host of issues – including the Pledge of Allegiance, prayer at public events, and the Declaration of Independence – as he demonstrates how we can still be one nation under God.”
– publisher description