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Women in WWII Took on These Dangerous Military Jobs

February 25, 2021 in History

By Sarah Pruitt

Looking beyond traditional nursing or clerical roles, some women served as snipers, bomber pilots and more.

Women served on both sides of World War II, in official military roles that came closer to combat than ever before. The Soviet Union, in particular, mobilized its women: Upward of 800,000 would enlist in the Red Army during the war, with more than half of these serving in front-line units. British forces included many women alongside men in vital anti-aircraft units. And Nazi Germany followed suit later in the conflict, when its flagging fortunes required the nation’s full mobilization.

Of the four major powers in the conflict, only the United States resisted sending any women into combat. Still, thousands of American women did join the military in various capacities during World War II, upending generations of traditional gender roles and longstanding assumptions about female capability and courage.

Soviet Union: Bombers and Snipers

The Night Witches (TV-PG; 1:55)

WATCH: The Night Witches

Soviet women served as scouts, anti-aircraft gunners, tank drivers and partisan fighters, but the two most dangerous—and celebrated—roles they played were as pilots and snipers.

In the fall of 1941, with invading German forces threatening Moscow, Marina Raskova (known as the “Russian Amelia Earhart”) convinced Joseph Stalin to authorize three regiments of female pilots. The most famous was the 588th Night Bomber Regiment, whose pilots hit so many of their targets that the Germans started calling them the Nachthexen, or “night witches.” Using rickety plywood planes, the women of the 588th flew more than 30,000 missions and dropped more than 23,000 tons of bombs on the Nazis; 30 of them were killed and 24 received the Hero of the Soviet Union medal, the nation’s highest award for valor.

Though nearly 2,500 Soviet women were trained as snipers, many others took on the role without formal training. Assigned to infantry battalions, female snipers were tasked with targeting German frontline officers and picking them off as they advanced. One sniper, Lyudmila Pavlichenko (aka “Lady Death”), killed a confirmed 309 Germans, including 36 enemy snipers, in less than a year of service with the Red Army’s 25th Rifle Division. Wounded four separate times, she was taken out of combat by late 1942; the Soviet government sent her to the United States, where she toured the country with Eleanor Roosevelt. She was 25 years old.

READ MORE: Meet the Night Witches, …read more

Source: HISTORY

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This Republican senator accidentally made a great case for raising the minimum wage

February 25, 2021 in Blogs

By Common Dreams

A story of the $6 wage he earned working in a restaurant as a kid blew up in the face of Sen. John Thune overnight after economic justice advocates pointed out that the powerful Republican’s personal anecdote only goes to show that, adjusted for inflation, that seemingly low wage would now be somewhere north of $24 an hour—helping solidify the case that increasing the minimum wage to $15 by 2025 is the very least Congress should be doing.

“I started working by bussing tables at the Star Family Restaurant for $1/hour and slowly moved up to cook—the big leagues for a kid like me—to earn $6/hour,” Thune, who represents South Dakota and is the second-most powerful Republican in the Senate, tweeted Wednesday night. “Businesses in small towns survive on narrow margins. Mandating a $15 minimum wage would put many of them out of business.”

Several progressive critics quickly pointed out that, depending on the exact year when Thune, born in 1961, started earning $6 an hour, the seemingly modest wage he pulled in as a teenager would be equivalent to roughly $25 today.

A number of commentators noted that a senator’s staff could easily verify the current worth of wages from the 1970s by using the CPI Inflation Calculator, raising questions about why they didn’t.

Journalist Matt Novak suggested that Thune and other opponents of minimum wage hikes are well-aware of inflationary pressure on earnings and cost of living. “They just don’t think people who make their food and clean their bathrooms deserve the same things they got,” argued Novak.

While Republicans have based their opposition to raising wages on the notion that it would negatively affect small businesses, progressive Democrats such as Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.) have argued that “we don’t want low-wage businesses.”

“I think most successful small businesses can pay a fair wage,” said Khanna. “I don’t want small businesses that are underpaying employees.”

Thune wasn’t the only GOP lawmaker who failed to acknowledge inflation when objecting to raising the wage floor to $15 per hour. Sen. Roger Marshall (R-Kan.) based his argument against increasing the minimum wage on the fact that his job in the late 1970s and early 1980s paid for his entire college tuition.

“When he graduated from Kansas State University,” journalist Timothy Burke tweeted, “tuition was $898/year. It is now $10,000/year. The minimum wage was $3.35. It’s …read more

Source: ALTERNET

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Democrat wins cheers with a passionate rebuke to opponents of LGBTQ rights bill: 'You used God to enslave'

February 25, 2021 in Blogs

By Alex Henderson

If passed by Congress, the Equality Act would amend and expand the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to ban discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. Democratic Rep. Al Green of Texas gave a passionate speech in favor of the bill during a U.S. House of Representatives session on Thursday, noting some of the ways in which religion was deceptively used to justify segregation and racist Jim Crow laws in the past.

The African-American congressman (not be confused with R&B/gospel singer, the Rev. Al Green) told members of the House, “You used God to enslave my foreparents. You used God to segregate me in schools. You used God to put me in the back of the bus. Have you no shame?”

President Joe Biden has been an outspoken supporter of the Equality Act, but its Republican opponents have claimed that it would discriminate against religion if passed. Green alluded to the fact that the same type of argument was used in defense of segregationist laws during the 1950s and 1960s.

Green declared, “God created every person in this room. Are you saying that God made a mistake? This is not about God — it’s about men who choose to discriminate against other people because they have the power to do so.”

…read more

Source: ALTERNET

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Why a former Republican congressman wants a third party

February 25, 2021 in Blogs

By Alex Henderson

Many Never Trump conservatives hoped that after President Joe Biden was sworn in and Donald Trump vacated the White House, right-wing Trump critics such as Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming and Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah would point the Republican Party in a new direction. But right-wing radio host and former Rep. Joe Walsh, in an article published by The Bulwark on February 25, laments that the GOP is as pro-Trump as ever — stressing that anti-Trump conservatives like himself need to weigh their options and decide where to go from here.

“The Republican Party is what it is,” Walsh explains. “It’s the Trump/Trumpy party. It’s the party of nationalism, protectionism, authoritarianism, wall-building, intolerance, fear, resentments, grievances, middle fingers to the rest of the world, lying, and utter disdain for democracy and the rule of law. In other words, it’s Donald Trump’s party. All this talk about a GOP ‘civil war’ is just wrong. There is no war. There is no great divide. The party is pretty darn unified. Republican voters, by really solid majorities, want Trumpism.”

Accepting the fact that the GOP is the “Trump party,” according to Walsh, is “the easy part.” The more challenging task for Never Trumpers, he writes, is figuring out what their next move should be.

“What about all the rest of us?,” Walsh writes. “What about all the conservatives, former Republicans, moderate Republicans, independents, and even moderate Democrats who want absolutely nothing to do with this new Trumpy Republican Party? What do we do? The options are actually pretty straight-forward — stay and try to reform the Republican Party; hang out in the land of independents; join the Democratic Party; or, start a new political party.”

Walsh continues, “The chief objections to each of these options are pretty straight-forward as well. The Republican Party isn’t changing; so, it’s not reforming. If you hang out in the land of independents, you’ll probably be hanging out there for the rest of your natural life. Though many have enormous respect for the Democratic Party, issues and …read more

Source: ALTERNET

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Columnist explains how Trump acolyte Stephen Miller is waging a 'shadow war' against Biden

February 25, 2021 in Blogs

By Alex Henderson

Although former President Donald Trump is no longer in the White House, his allies are trying to undermine President Joe Biden’s agenda. One such ally, according to liberal Washington Post opinion columnist Greg Sargent, is 35-year-old Stephen Miller — who, Sargent writes, is operating a “shadow war” against Biden’s administration and trying to turn public opinion against the new president’s immigration policy.

“When the administration reopened a warehouse-like facility for migrant children in Texas this week,” Sargent explains, “it caused a huge controversy on all sides. It inspired claims, mostly from the right, that President Biden is reverting to former president Donald Trump’s policies, proving Trump right all along. But those claims are wrong.”

Miller, Sargent notes, is “publicly encouraging enforcement agents to defy Biden’s new policies” and “is running a propaganda war to manufacture the impression that Biden’s agenda is already a catastrophe.”

“When the new Texas facility opened, conservatives, Miller included, scoffed that Biden is being forced to resume Trump policies, because efforts to reverse them have collided with reality, vindicating Trump,” Sargent writes. “All this is nonsense. On migrant children, Biden has not restarted Trump’s policies. What Biden is doing has nothing in common with ‘kids in cages.’ And none of this proves Trump was right in any way.”

Sargent goes on to explain why Biden’s immigration policy is not a carbon copy or vindication of Trump’s.

“It’s important to note that the Texas facility is run not by Border Patrol, but by the Office of Refugee Resettlement,” Sargent writes. “Federal laws and legal settlements require Border Patrol to take in children and hold them for no more than 72 hours, then transfer them to ORR, which then tries to place them with relatives or guardians.”

Sargent continues, “Thus, the reopening of the Texas facility does not constitute holding children at the border. It constitutes using a warehouse-like facility to deal with overflow at ORR, the waystation before kids hopefully get moved to a better life. This isn’t ‘kids in cages’ redux.”

Another anti-Biden talking point on immigration, Sargent adds, is the claim that his “permissiveness” is “drawing more migrants” to the U.S./Mexico border. But Sargent counters that Biden is simply “allowing migrants to have due process” and that many migrant children are fleeing violence in Central America.

Wendy Young, president of Kids in Need of Defense, told Sargent, “There continues to be a tremendous amount of violence, …read more

Source: ALTERNET

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'Did you flunk math?' Republicans mocked for a baffling attack on Biden's pandemic response

February 25, 2021 in Blogs

By Sky Palma

In a post to Twitter this Thursday, the official account for the GOP slammed President Biden for what they say is his failure to keep his promise to reopen schools within his first 100 days in office.

In early December, Biden pledged to bring the coronavirus pandemic under enough control to open most schools in the U.S. during his first 100 days as president. But as many on Twitter pointed out, the tweet from the GOP makes no sense considering the fact that Biden has only been in office for 36 days.

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9 Groundbreaking Inventions by Women

February 25, 2021 in History

By Becky Little

Women inventors are behind a wide range of key innovations, from Kevlar to dishwashers to better life rafts.

Female inventors have played a large role in U.S. history, but haven’t always received credit for their work. Besides the fact that their contributions have sometimes been downplayed over overlooked, women—particularly women of color—have historically had fewer resources to apply for U.S. patents and market their inventions.

Not all of the female inventors on this list received attention for their work in their lifetime, or were able to market their inventions. But all of them contributed innovations that helped advance technology in their respective fields.

Female inventors have played a large role in U.S. history, while not always receiving credit for their work. Among the many inventions by women innovators is the dishwasher, which was patented in 1886 by a wealthy socialite, Josephine G. Cochran, of Shelbyville, Illinois, who sought a way to wash her fine china.

View the 9 images of this gallery on the original article

1. Life Raft

In the early 1880s, when a new wave of European immigrants were sailing to the United States, a Philadelphia inventor named Maria E. Beasley designed an improved life raft. Unlike the flat life rafts of the 1870s, Beasley’s raft had guard rails to help keep people inside during emergencies when they had to abandon ship.

Beasley patented her first life raft design in 1880 in both the United States and Great Britain, and received a second U.S. patent for an updated version of the raft in 1882. In addition to the life raft, she also invented a foot warmer, a stream generator and a barrel-hooping machine, receiving a total of 15 U.S. patents and at least two in Great Britain during her life.

2. Fold-Out Bed

In 1885, a Chicago inventor and furniture store owner named Sarah E. Goode received a patent for her “Cabinet-Bed.” The new piece of furniture was a desk that folded out into a bed, allowing the user to save space in a tiny apartment.

Goode’s invention predated the 20th century’s pull-down Murphy beds and pull-out sofas. With her Cabinet-Bed, Goode—who was born into slavery and won her freedom after the Civil War—became one of the first Black women to patent and invention with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

READ MORE: 8 Black Inventors Who Made Daily Life Easier

3. Dishwasher

Josephine G. Cochran …read more

Source: HISTORY