Wonk’s Saturday Reads: sheroes and potpourri

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton greets the children of Embassy employees at the US Embassy in Tokyo, April 17, 2011. Families were allowed back Friday, after warnings has been lifted following the earthquake and tsunami in Japan. (SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)

Morning, news junkies. Here are my Saturday reads.


  • Hillary’s profile in the 2011 Time 100 was written by dean emeritus of the Kennedy School, Joe Nye. Nye doesn’t mention Hillary’s work on behalf of women and girls, instead defining her influence in terms of how well she plays with others:

But above all, Hillary, 63, has set a model of how to be a member of a team of rivals. Unlike in many Administrations that have suffered from friction between State, Defense and the White House, Barack Obama’s strongest rival in 2008 has become one of the most effective and loyal supporters in an Administration that has been notably cohesive on foreign policy.

RIP Madelyn Pugh Davis (1921-2011)

  • I’m a huge fan of all things Desilu, and I love Christine Russell’s tribute to Madelyn over at the Atlantic: The ‘Girl Writer’ Behind ‘I Love Lucy’ Dies. It is worth the click over. Thank you Madelyn Pugh for blazing trails and for writing television that makes me laugh and smile in my times of grief and suffering. (Sisterhood, the girl gift that keeps on giving.)

Remembering Diana

Economics quick links

Pastor Un-Congeniality: ‘Peaceful, armed, and accidentally firing’

  • You can’t make this stuff up: After meeting with Dearborn Islamic Center imam on Detroit’s Fox affiliate, Terry Jones accidentally fires a gun in the studio parking lot. Keep in mind that Jones wanted to hold a protest rally outside of this imam’s Michigan mosque yesterday on Good Friday. He told the local ABC affiliate the following:

“We have made it very clear that we are coming there with very, very peaceful intentions,” the pastor explained to WXYZ-TV. “We will be armed. We do have concealed weapons permits.”

War, violence, and untruth: What is it good for?

  • Glenzilla on Friday’s drone attack killing 23 people in Pakistan: Nobel peace drones. At the end Greenwald adds an important note, summing up the quagmire-esque situation in Libya in two very pithy sentences:

A new NYT/CBS poll today finds that only 39% approve of Obama’s handling of Libya, while 45% disapprove (see p. 17). That’s what happens when a President starts a new war without any pretense of democratic debate, let alone citizenry consent through the Congress.

OBAMA: So people can have philosophical views [about Bradley Manning] but I can’t conduct diplomacy on an open source [basis]… That’s not how the world works.

And if you’re in the military… And I have to abide by certain rules of classified information. If I were to release material I weren’t allowed to, I’d be breaking the law.

We’re a nation of laws! We don’t let individuals make their own decisions about how the laws operate. He broke the law.

[Q: Didn’t he release evidence of war crimes?]

OBAMA: What he did was he dumped

[Q: Isn’t that just the same thing as what Daniel Ellsberg did?]

OBAMA: No it wasn’t the same thing. Ellsberg’s material wasn’t classified in the same way.

Women’s Rights

  • Please take a moment to read this article from the Nation by Michelle Goldberg: Policing Pregnancy. This is why Pelosi allowing Stupak to come to a vote and Obama signing that executive order was an affront to our civil rights. The Democrats emboldened the Republican war against women–and that’s how our oligarchy keeps going. But, this is no game. The assault on women has very real and damaging consequences. Targeting desperate women who have had their human rights violated and prosecuting them for trying to kill or harm themselves while pregnant is no less barbaric than the Taliban’s treatment of women.

Doom and gloom break…


  • And, for what? Open season on women’s health and a Dem brand so weakened that it *needs* the Republicans’ mindboggling overreach on Medicare to distract from the Dems’ own blunders on healthcare? Via Mother Jones, Dems Warn Constituents About the Evils of RyanCare:

Back in their home districts for the Easter recess, some House Democrats have put the GOP overhaul of Medicare front and center with their constituents. On Wednesday night, Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-Va.) asked all the callers participating in a telephone town hall to vote on whether they supported the GOP Rep. Paul Ryan’s plan to replace Medicare “with a voucher system to help seniors defray the cost of health insurance.” Of some 1,300 callers who responded, the choice seemed overwhelming: 73 percent wanted to keep Medicare as is, while only 27 supported the GOP overhaul.

The informal telephone poll falls in line with a recent Washington Post-ABC News poll that found that 65 percent of Americans oppose the Ryan plan for Medicare. That number that jumped to 84 percent when respondents were told that the cost of private insurance is supposed to outpace the cost of Medicare insurance, weakening the value of the “premium support” that recipients would receive under Ryan’s plan.

Kabuki for American oil junkies

  • WaPo PostPartisan blogger Stephen Stromberg offers this take on Obama’s oil price and fraud task force, criticizing both the president and Republicans: Obama, GOP’s empty war on gas prices.

On Thursday, President Obama unveiled a new working group to combat any fraud or manipulation in the oil and energy markets that may be contributing to near-record gas prices. But some economists and market experts worry that by focusing on criminal activity, Obama is shrugging off a much bigger problem: rampant Wall Street speculation in commodities markets that has helped drive up food and energy prices in the past.

Birthers come in all shapes of idiot; 2012 looks bleak.

  • Salon’s Justin Elliott eviscerates Andrew Sullivan and the Trig Truthers. Sarah Palin is a shallow politician with a horrid platform. She would make a horrible president. But, her pregnancy history is irrelevant, and the “investigation” of any woman politician’s hoo ha and the aspersions cast upon her teenage daughter and disabled son in the process of said investigation is a sickening and sad commentary on our zombie fourth estate and what it considers worthy of investigative journalism (especially in light of all the critical issues it does not investigate). And, on a purely pragmatic note: Sarah Palin is desperate to be the infotainment flavor of the week again. Why are Palin-haters so hellbent on giving her the attention she wants?

Also see this AP rundown of where other GOPers stand, as well as Trump to Salon: “You will be very surprised” (re: Trump releasing his net worth.)

  • Dartmouth poll: Romney beats Obama in NH by 8 points. Incidentally, Colin Powell beats O by 20 whopping points in the same poll. Colin Powell–the guy who held up that vial of anthrax for Bush-Cheney Co. at the UN and is not going to run for president, especially not against Obama. That’s how politically bankrupt both Obama and the GOP are. They can’t even compete with a hypothetical Colin Powell candidacy.

This Day in History (April 23rd)

Ray achieved another first when on April 23, 1872 she was admitted to the bar in the District of Columbia which had recently removed the word “male” from its requirements.

Drawing of Charlotte Ray. Click image to learn more at fashionlawyerblog.com

The first ever African-American woman lawyer, Charlotte Ray was a woman far ahead of her time. Pictured in the sketch [to the right], Ray was born in New York City on January 13, 1850, the daughter of one of the conductors on the Underground Railroad.

Shortly after graduating from Howard University in 1872, Ray became one of the first women admitted to the District of Columbia Bar. She also was the first woman permitted to argue cases in front of the Supreme Court in the capital. Ray opened her own law office that same year, specializing in commercial law. Unfortunately, Ray only practiced for a few years because of the widespread prejudices of the time. It was too difficult for her, as an African-American woman, to attract enough clients to keep her practice going.

In 1879, Ray moved to New York where she worked as a teacher in the Brooklyn public schools. She married soon after, taking her husband’s last name, Fraim. Ray championed a number of social causes outside of her classroom, becoming involved in the women’s suffrage movement and joining the National Association of Colored Women. She died on January 4, 1911, in Woodside, New York.

Click photo read more about Charlotte at browngirlnextdoor.com

The End.

If you made it all the way through, don’t forget to chime in with your reads in the comments!

[originally posted at Let Them Listen; crossposted at Sky Dancing and Taylor Marsh]


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