This Week in American Women: Ketanji Brown Jackson, Karen Berg, and Madeleine Albright

Despite what history (and some men) may say, women are resourceful, intelligent, and more than capable. We just need the opportunity to prove ourselves.

Last week, America lost one of her giants in both history and politics. Madeleine Albright passed away at the age of 84. Appointed to the role of Secretary of State by former President Bill Clinton in 1997, she was the first woman to hold that position. Born to Holocaust survivors who fled Soviet-era Czechoslovakia in 1949, she did not learn that her family was Jewish until she was in her golden years. She will be remembered not just for the crack she left in the glass ceiling, but for her fight for peace and understanding between the nations.

May her memory be a blessing. Z”L

For the last week or so, Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson has been grilled by members of Congress in regards to her potentially taking over the seat of Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer when he retires at the end of this term. Judge Jackson is more than qualified for the position. To say that some members of the Republican Party have been outrageous in their conduct towards her is an understatement. Instead of asking genuine questions about her work experience, they are once more appealing to their base by picking at literal straws.

Meanwhile, in Kentucky, the subject of abortion has come up again in the cruelest of manners. Standing up for women and other possibly pregnant persons is State Senator Karen Berg. As the only female and the only doctor on the committee, she pointed out how ridiculous and dangerous (starts at 40:51) the limits on abortion are.

It’s time that we listen not just to these women, but to all women. We have voices, we have opinions, and it’s about dam time we are given our due.

Here, Right Matters: An American Story Book Review

Sometimes, fate gives us a choice. When our conscious speaks, we can either listen to it. The other option is to do nothing.

Former US Army Colonel Alexander Vindman tell his story in his new memoir, Here, Right Matters: An American Story. Published earlier this month, the reader is taken into his world and the Biden-Ukraine conspiracy as he experienced it. Born in 1975 in the former Soviet Union, he emigrated with his widowed father and brothers in the late 1970’s. Raised in the Brighton Beach section of Brooklyn, he joined the military as an adult.

On July 25th, 2019, Vindman had to make a decision. He could stay silent as a certain former President acted in a way that was completely unprecedented (not to mention cross a moral and legal boundary). Instead, he spoke up. This, as we all know, led to the impeachment trial and the public slander of Vindman by certain people in the government and the press.

This book is amazing. It counters the lies and the trash that accuses him of being disloyal and unappreciative of what this country has given him. He was willing to forgo his career and his reputation to stand up to a President who is not only a con-man, but had no intention looking out for anyone except for himself.

Do I recommend it? Yes.

Ashes in the Snow Book Review

When we think of the atrocities and the mass murder that was unfortunately part and parcel of World War II, we think of the Nazis and the Holocaust. We don’t think of the Soviet Union.

Ruta Sepetys‘s 2018 novel, Ashes in the Snow (originally titled Between Shades of Gray) begins in Lithuania in 1941. Lina is your average fifteen year old girl with a passion and a gift for art that shows promise. Then her world is turned upside down by the occupation of the Baltic states.

Soviet officers force themselves into her home in the middle of the night. Separated from her father, Lina, along with her mother, young brother and many others are forced into crowded trains. Their destination is Siberia and a work camp that is dehumanizing in every sense of the word.

Lina uses her artistic skills to keep herself alive mentally and to draw what she is experiencing while hoping that her drawings will reach her father. In spite of the conditions she is living in, Lina fights to survive with her family, but is that enough to keep them alive until they are free?

This book is amazing and a must read, in my opinion. It is obviously not an easy book to read, but a necessary book to read. Experiencing this world through Lina’s eyes, we see this young girl grow into a young woman under circumstances that I would wish on no one. If one thing stood out to me, was that Lina has this incredible source of inner strength that keeps her going when she could easily give up and let death take her.

I absolutely recommend it.

Defending The Motherland: The Soviet Women Who Fought Hitler’s Aces Book Review

War often asks ordinary citizens to act differently than they would when their country is at peace. This includes women who for the most part, remained in the background.

One of the lesser known and appreciated historical facts about World War II is that the war motivated women to stretch their legs beyond the traditional roles that they were accustomed to. In The Soviet Union, women not only actively joined the armed forces, but also were part of same-sex combat units that successfully fought back against the Germans.

The story of these women is laid out in the 2015 book, Defending The Motherland: The Soviet Women Who Fought Hitler’s Ace’s. Written by Lyuba Vinogradova, the author pulls together interviews with the surviving airwomen to tell the story of the squadrons who fought for their country while fighting sexism within the military.

I found this book to be not only educational and well written, but extremely interesting. The author found a way to bring her subjects to life in a way that not only appealed to both the feminist and the history nerd in me.

I recommend it.

 

 

Throwback Thursday-Blast From The Past (1999)

The Cold War was a scary time in The United States. Americans genuinely believed that the Soviet Union were at any moment aiming nuclear rockets, ready to kill millions.

Adam (Brendan Fraser) was raised in a bomb shelter. His parents, Calvin (Christopher Walken) and Helen (Cissy Spacek) believe that the nuclear war between America and the Soviet Union started in earnest. They raised their only son in the shelter. After 35 years in the bomb shelter, it is the only world that Adam knows.

Adam is sent to the surface to get food and supplies. He is extremely surprised that not only is the world intact, but it has changed since his family went underground. He also meets Eve (Alicia Silverstone), who is the cynical ying to Adam’s naive yang. Eve agrees reluctantly agrees to help Adam find the food and supplies that he needs.  As they work together, something changes within their relationship. Will they end their partnership once Adam has acquired what he has come up to the surface to find or is there something more?

This movie is not completely subpar in terms of the romantic comedy genre, but it’s not the best that the genre can offer audiences. The chemistry between the two leads is questionable during some scenes. But it’s cute, which in terms of the genre, means it not all bad.

And the swing dancing scene is very cool.

Do I recommend it? Maybe.

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