'Feminism' Ranks As Top Search Word In 2017, According To Mirriam-Webster Dictionary

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It's official: leading US dictionary Merriam-Webster says that its 2017 word of the year is 'feminism'. Peter Sokolowski, Mirriam-Webster's editor-at-large said that people searching for the word was up 70 percent. "The word was in the air", said Sokolowski. 

Described as “the theory of the political, economic and social equality of the sexes” by the dictionary, the word 'feminism also means “organised activity on behalf of women’s rights and interests”.

Other contenders for 2017’s prize were “complicit” (which was widely used in the Trump/Russia scandal) and “dotard” (which is the adjective Kim Jong-un used to describe the US president).

The word 'feminism' got a huge boost with the November 21 Women's March in DC and around the world. With Women's Marches all over America, the event is considered to be the largest activism march ever.

Just when searches were perhaps slowing down, the #metoo movement began, which put 'feminism' once again on the front burner, boosted yet again by TIME magazine's person of the year award as 'The Silence Breakers'. 

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Republican women do not strongly identify with the word 'feminist' and Mirriam-Webster says Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway also gave searches a boost.  The Washington Post clarifies:

“It’s difficult for me to call myself a feminist in the classic sense because it seems to be very anti-male and it certainly is very pro-abortion, and I’m neither anti-male or pro-abortion. So, there’s an individual feminism, if you will, that you make your own choices…. I look at myself as a product of my choices, not a victim of my circumstances,” Conway said during the annual Conservative Political Action Conference at National Harbor in Maryland last February.

In fact, feminism is not pro-abortion, but a core belief is the women have a right to control our own bodies and that opposition to a right to birth control, for example,  is now unconstitutional. Feminism does emphasize body autonomy within a range of sensible restrictions. 

Charlottesville Car Killer James Alex Fields Jr. Charged With First Degree Murderf

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Self-professed neo-Nazi James Alex Fields Jr., 20, has been charged with first-degree murder Thursday, after being jailed on lesser charges since the Aug. 12 for the death of Charlottesville protester Heather D. Heyer

Fields had been charged with second-degree murder, punishable by five to 40 years in prison. WaPo writes:

Authorities had initially said that 19 people were injured, in addition to Heyer, when Fields allegedly rammed his 2010 Dodge Challenger into another vehicle on purpose on a crowded street. But testimony at the preliminary hearing revealed that there were many more victims. Besides first-degree murder, Fields, who lived in Ohio before his arrest, is charged with eight counts of “aggravated malicious wounding,” meaning that at least eight of the 35 people who were hurt suffered what Virginia law describes as “permanent and significant physical impairment," writes the New York Times

The case will be presented to a grand jury next week. If the grand jury issues an indictment of Fields, a trial will follow. First-degree murder requires the element of premeditation. In upgrading the charges against Fields, authorities said video showing the Dodge backing up rapidly before it accelerated forward toward the crowd is concrete evidence that the crash was intentional. 

Ten Women Have Now Accused Russell Simmons Of Sexual Assault Or Harassment

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Russell Simmons

Four more women have come forward to accuse music producer Russell Simmons of sexual assault. In what are becoming excruciating reads in the New York Times, former Def Jam Records employee Drew Dixon, former music journalist Tonie Sallie and performer Tina Baker allege that Russell Simmons raped them in encounters that span a period from 1988 to 2014.In a separate report published Wednesday in The LA Times, performer Sherri Hines alleged that Simmons raped her around 1983.

Simmons has responded: "I have re-dedicated myself to spiritual learning, healing and working on behalf of the communities to which I have devoted my life. I have accepted that I can and should get dirt on my sleeves if it means witnessing the birth of a new consciousness about women," Simmons said in a statement to the New York Times on Wednesday. “What I will not accept is responsibility for what I have not done. I have conducted my life with a message of peace and love. Although I have been candid about how I have lived in books and interviews detailing my flaws, I will relentlessly fight against any untruthful character assassination that paints me as a man of violence.”

Because the Salma Hayek Harvey Weinstein op-ed is waiting to be posted, and I just read that PBS has suspended Tavis Smiley after conducting a private investigation, I have nothing more to say about Russell Simmons behaving badly. Oh, and I must update Trump's attack on Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand. Tracking all these guys is a full-time job these days.