We Are All Americans

A friend of mine told me last night, “Believe half of what you see and none of what you hear.” If you hear someone saying Muslims are prone to violence, don’t believe it. If you see a Muslim who walks and talks and bleeds just like you, believe it. Stop the hate.

Primary His Ass

CAUTION: Angry, explicit Little Isis rant about to ensue.

Prelude: Our Hearts go out to Norway.

Word on the street is that Bernie Sanders thinks someone should primary Obama.

SANDERS: Brian, believe me, I wish I had the answer to your question. Let me just suggest this. I think there are millions of Americans who are deeply disappointed in the president, who believe that with regard to Social Security and other things, he said one thing as a candidate and is doing something very much else as a president. Who cannot believe how weak he has been for whatever reason in negotiating with Republicans, and there’s deep disappointment. So my suggestion is, I think one of the reasons the president has made the move so far to the right is that there is no primary opposition to him and I think it would do this country a good deal of service if people started thinking about candidates out there to begin contrasting a progressive agenda as opposed to what Obama believes he’s doing. […] So I would say to Ryan, discouragement is not an option. I think it would be a good idea if President Obama faced some primary opposition.

No shit, Sherlock. Someone should primary Obama? What a novel idea. Why don’t you do it, Bernie? Why not get some balls?

Bust this shit, readers. I had my first job when I was sixteen. I was a cashier at burger king. I still remember that first paycheck. Oh, the sweet smell of hard earned money. I relished opening that check. And of course when I did, I saw that some of my earnings were deducted for social security and other taxes. Some of my coworkers bitched about it, but I didn’t mind. At sixteen I knew that if I didn’t make bank later in life I was paying into a system that would benefit me for my contribution to society. I was raised on work ethic and honesty, like most Americans. Only unlike most Americans, I took it serioiusly.

I work hard, readers. I bust my ass. I’m a certified hustler, and I have paid for everything I own, from the clothes on my back to the nail polish on my toes to the ghetto ass car I drive. Don’t try to tell me I’m a spoiled millennial, because I’ll kick your ass from here to Canada.

Yeah, Obama should face some primary opposition. In fact, WHY IS HE NOT FACING A PRIMARY CHALLENGE RIGHT NOW? WHAT DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENT CUTS SOCIAL SECURITY, MEDICAID AND MEDICARE AND DOES NOT FACE A PRIMARY CHALLENGE?

Jesus Christ. If I were old enough, I would primary him. And don’t give me that shit. Talkin’ bout “B-b-b-but, there’s no way, Little Isis! That can’t happen! It would weaken the party! Bachmann would win! We’ll all DIIIIIIEEEEEE!”

F*ck that noise. If Bachmann runs and wins against Obama, know what imma do? Laugh. I will laugh and laugh. And then I will f*cking point at your stupid asses and laugh some more.

What makes you think I give a shit about how a primary challenge to Obama might affect the Democratic Party and its chances for 2012? What has the Democratic Party done for ME lately, other than take away my benefits, cut my financial aid and do everything humanly possible to not give a shit about the future of my generation and by extension this country?

Oh. Primary Opposition to Obama would weaken him for 2012? Let me just pretend for a second that I care…

wait for it….

waaaaiiiiit….

Nope, still don’t give a shit. I don’t care who replaces him. Me and every other American pays for his food, his house, his jet and his butlers. And his ass is canned.

Wonk’s Saturday Reads: “Hillaryben” and the Sisterhood of the Traveling Saris

Hillary, wheels down in the land of my heritage, surrounded by vibrant power-saris instead of being the only bright corner in a sea of gray suits, as so often is the case, especially here in the US. (July 18, 2011/State Dept/Public Domain) ... CLICK PHOTO TO READ A TRANSCRIPT OF HILLARY'S REMARKS AT THE OPENING SESSION OF THE US-INDIA STRATEGIC DIALOGUE (July 19, 2011)

Morning, news junkies. This Saturday’s roundup is really more like two posts in one. It’s going to be top-heavy with news about Hillary’s current travels, so if you’re interested in other items about women’s issues, in particular news about Hillary protege Kirsten Gillibrand, please be sure to click after the jump for part 2! (There’s a bit more Hillary stuff in Part II, as well, not related to her current traveling per se.)

Alright, I’m going to start off part I with a mini-photo bomb of sorts (you can click on each photo to get more details about Madam Secretary’s travels):

First up, above to the right… Secretary Clinton arrived in New Delhi, India July 18 for the second round of the U.S.-India Strategic Dialogue. She was met by Indian Foreign Secretary Nirupama Menon Rao. (July 18, 2011 STATE DEPT/PUBLIC DOMAIN)

Next, below to the left: BJP Party leader Sushma Swaraj speaks with Secretary Clinton at her residence ini New Delhi. (July 19, 2011 STATE DEPT/PUBLIC DOMAIN)

Second pic below to the left: All India Congress Party leader Sonia Gandhi greets Secretary Clinton at her residence in New Delhi. (July 19, 2011/STATE DEPT/PUBLIC DOMAIN)

Third pic below to the left: Secretary Clinton arrives in Bali and Is Greeted By Indonesian Director for Protocol Kandou, Indonesian foreign Ministry Protocol Liaisons Novita and Moniaga, and Ambassador Carden. (July 21, 2011/STATE DEPT/PUBLIC DOMAIN)

Powerful woman pow wow, the Hillary and Sushma edition! (July 19, 2011/State Dept/Public Domain) ... CLICK PHOTO TO VIEW A CANDID SHOT OF HILLARY AND SUSHMA WALKING HAND-IN-HAND.

As epic as it gets...Hillary Clinton and Sonia Gandhi! (July 19, 2011/State Dept./Public Domain)... CLICK PHOTO TO VIEW A NICE SLIDESHOW OF HILLARY MEETING INDIAN LEADERS (including more pictures of Hillary with Sushma and Sonia.)

Hillary, wheels down in Bali! (July 21, 2011/State Dept/Public Domain) ... CLICK PHOTO TO SEE A SLIDESHOW OF MORE AT STILL4HILL'S BLOG.

Here’s a really great read to go along with these pictures, from the Telegraph, Kolkota’s KP Nayar: RARE OPPORTUNITIES – Hillary Clinton’s commitment to India remains undiminished. The “Hillaryben” mention below, in discussing Hillary’s earlier trip to Mumbai, pulls on my heartstrings twice–one time for the Desi factor and another for the sisterhood factor (Hillaryben means “sister Hillary”):

Vegetable vendors and embroidery workers from Gujarat, typically ordinary Indians, made her feel at home in Mumbai, when they unhesitatingly called her “Hillaryben” and reminded her that she was among one of her kind, a woman, wife and working mother, not the most powerful lady in the world, arguably.

I’ve only teased just a tiny portion here. Please click over to the Kolkata Telegraph to read this all in context. It’s the kind of article about Hillary you’d be hard-pressed to find examples of in American media.

PTI has a report of Hillary’s visit with Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa… Jaya is a great personality: Hillary. There’s a cute pic of the two women (Jaya and Hillary) together at the link.

Now for a read that is just plain fun. Via the Hindustan Times: Clinton hit the bar, had tandoori murg. On the menu for Hillary and what the article describes as “her 100-strong entourage”:

On her platter were a choice of dishes like seekh kebab, tandoori gobhi, chholey, daal makhni, aloo jeera, rajma masala and fresh mango lassi.

In Indian meats, there was tandoori murg, murg biryani, khushk raan, barra biryani and murg tariwala. Staple consisted of assorted naan, roti and jeera pulao, and for dessert, there were Indian mithais.

Another fun one…it’s a PTI report via IBN (CNN’s sister network in India)… Cultural fare dazzles Hillary:

Chennai, Jul 20 (PTI) It was an enthralled Hillary Clinton this evening as the young faculty and students of a local cultural group brought on some captivating music and dance performance, prompting her to say she “was honoured” to be a part of the moment. […] Clinton said though she had witnessed some of these dances earlier, this was the first time she watched a performance so close that she “could see every muscle (of the dancers) move.”

You can see some fantastic PTI-copyrighted photographs of a bedazzled Hillary enjoying all this “cultural fare” here (via Sify).

And, here’s a very lovely picture of Hillary “sharing a lighter moment” with some women dancers (via the Deccan Herald, which has some interesting reporting about Hillary’s stay in India at the link). In the photo, you can see the tikka/bindi her Indian hosts put on her forehead, along with the garland. You can also see a big warm smile on Hillary’s face. Which reminds me of this great closeup of just Hillary from that night, via Getty Images. (I don’t know how long that link at DayLife will last for, so if you can’t see the photo there, let me know.)

Also, Dipnote has a picture up of Hillary with the dancers on a post about her meeting with the Working Women’s Forum. Oddly enough, they didn’t put a picture of her at the actual forum, but not to worry, sisters of the traveling stateswoman! Still4Hill has got the Hillary goodies on this one, all in one place.

Click to see S4H’s slideshow of Hillary at the Working Women’s Forum, as well as a transcript of Hillary’s remarks–if you love Hillary and her campaign for women, YOU DO NOT WANT TO MISS THESE PICS!

Toward the end of her remarks to the Working Women’s Forum, Hillary talked about the cookstove initiative (I’m quoting the latter half of what she said):

And so we will work with people around the world to help develop clean cookstoves, help to manufacture them so they are affordable for you to buy them, and we are delighted that we have partners right here with the Working Women’s Forum, with the Confederation of Indian Industries, and the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry, who have joined the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves, to make your lives and the lives of your children better and healthier. (Applause.)

Here’s a small sampling of the news coverage on this:

Clinton takes “clean cookstove” drive to India (nice pic at the link of Hillary looking completely in her element as she addresses the crowd)

(Reuters) – Secretary of State Hillary Clinton pushed one of her simplest but potentially most transformative diplomatic priorities in India on Wednesday: clean cooking stoves.

Huffpo/AP… Clean Cookstoves: Hillary Clinton Fights Cooking Deaths In Developing World. Check out the photo Huffpo ran of Hillary. It’s almost…*gasp*…flattering (for Huffpo anyway). My, my… it seems like just yesterday that Arianna and her editors found the most distorted pictures of Hillary that they could and blasted them on their front page 24/7. What a difference three years makes!

Here’s a silly item about Hillary’s visit to Greece earlier in the week, with some fun photos: Hillary Clinton: What is a Greek “Frappe”? It’s tabloidesque, but not particularly the kind where you regret giving the story a click. The author makes a punchline at the end about Hillary enjoying her non-frappe, American-style warm coffee and “[leaving] for India to reveal the secrets of a good, ice-cold Lashi.” (Hopefully the first secret Hillary revealed is that it’s spelled “lassi.” And, bless the EVOO queen Racheal Ray who has concocted her own lassi recipe for her show before, but it’s not pronounced like the dog “Lassie” either. It’s “lus-see,” i.e. rhymes with hussy.)

But I digress! Back to Hillary in Greece.

I personally love this AFP shot of Hillary walking past the Acropolis (as she leaves a signing ceremony for a Cultural MOU on import restrictions for archaeological finds between the US and Greece.) H/T S4H, who has more pics+video/transcript of Hillary at the Acropolis Museum here.

Also if you missed the CNN-Turkey Coffee Break with Hillary from last Saturday, Stacy at SecyClintonBlog has all your video, transcript, and photo needs covered at the link, so be sure to check it out.

These are just some Hillary highlights I took away from this week–this really isn’t a comprehensive review of Hillary’s world tour in terms of all the important diplomatic and development work she’s doing. (For that, I suggest you keep an eye out for Dipnote‘s Sunday week-in-review tomorrow.) As much as I’d love to keep blogging about Hillary’s travels this week, I’m afraid the post would become way too long, even for me! And, I actually have a laundry list of other items I’d like to link to before I wrap up and get to the women’s history trivia for this Saturday.

So here goes… your Saturday: Part II link dump…. you can go grab another cuppa first or save this for reading later this weekend, but whenever you’re ready… Click to continue… Continue reading

Wonk’s Saturday Reads: Sleepyhead

CLICK FOR TRANSCRIPT/VIDEO (...at one point Hillary gets asked to comment on the passing of Betty Ford.)

Morning, news junkies… I’m really exhausted, so this is going to be a pretty basic rundown of links and snippets, nothing fancy or earth-shattering in the way of two cents from me.

This week’s Hillary photo:

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and EU High Representative for Foreign Policy Catherine Ashton hold a press conference at bilateral meetings at the U.S. Department of State in Washington, D.C., on July 11, 2011. [STATE DEPT. PHOTO/PUBLIC DOMAIN.]

The Chicago Sun Times’ Lynn Sweet has got another photo worth catching if you missed it this week:

Michelle Obama, Hillary Clinton, Rosalynn Carter, Nancy Reagan at Betty Ford funeral.

Also from a Grand Rapids press report: The Westboro creeps “didn’t show as threatened, but members of a group promoting tolerance came just in case with intentions of shielding the funeral from members of the Kansas-based hate group.”

Via the BBC’s Kim Ghattas:

On the road with Hillary Clinton.

(Also give Kim’s interview with Hillary a look. And, here’s an international headline based on one of Hillary’s answers to Ghattas: Clinton Ready to Retire from ‘Merry-Go-Round.’)

In “water is wet” news, John Kerry can’t wait to step in Hillary’s place on that merry-go-round…

NYT Mag profile: The All-American.

Globetrotting with Hillary…

CNN reports: The Energizer Secretary embarks on another world tour. (Secretary of State Hillary Clinton arrived Friday in Istanbul, the start of a 12-day journey that, in typical Hillary fashion, will straddle the globe, taking her to Europe, India and East Asia.”) The Guardian’s takeaway: Hillary Clinton circumnavigates a sphere of diminishing US influence. Dipnote Travel Diary: Secretary Clinton Travels to Turkey, Greece, India, Indonesia and Hong Kong.

My Dipnote picks of the week:

Women Leaders as Agents of Change: Caribbean Regional Colloquium. (“In a personal video message, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton sent her greetings and congratulations to participants and organizers. Participants received the video enthusiastically, commenting that they felt encouraged and inspired by the Secretary’s interest and support.”)

U.S. Launches “Women in Trade Initiative” in Pakistan.

The Impact of Diplomacy and Development on Economic Prosperity.

Food for thought… Still4Hill’s take on Madame Secretary’s response to the assassination of Hamid Karzai’s brother…

Hillary Clinton: A Giant Shadow.

Good News from GetEqual.org:

After 17,000 petition signatures and a 75-person rally… Immigration Judge Postpones Deportation Proceedings For Two Years, Allowing Married Gay Binational Couple to Remain in U.S.

Via TDP (Texas Democratic Party):

MeetRickPerry.com (TDP is still in the building stages of this site right now, so the homepage is a fundraising push at this point… but I still thought this was amusing and wanted to share.)

Via Jodi Jacobson at RH Reality Check…

NYT: The Courts Stand Up for Access to Reproductive Health Care. (“While these rulings are preliminary,” states the editorial, “each is a determination that enforcing the law would cause irreparable harm and that the plaintiffs are likely to prevail at trial.”)

Bloomberg article on Indian women in finance (h/t Dakinikat):

Top Women at India Banks Prove ICICI CEO Factory Gender Neutral. (“I never thought the banking industry was male dominated because I could see Chanda Kochhar lead such a big bank,” Mistry says in the sunlit classroom. “Chanda is my inspiration because I want to join banking.”)

The loquacious veep’s first tweet:

“Just met w/Cabinet re unacceptable violence against HS+college women; tasked agencies to mobilize all assets to attack this problem – VP”

Dean Baker, from the Bastille Day edition of Counterpunch:

Economic Illiteracy...

In the same vein, when a politician asserts that Social Security is going bankrupt and that there will not be anything left for her children or grandchildren, serious reporters would ridicule her for being ignorant of the Social Security trustees projections. These projections show that even if nothing is ever done to change the program, future beneficiaries will always be able to collect a higher benefit than current retirees. The “nothing there for our children” would be treated as a serious gaffe, sort of like then-Senator Obama’s comment before the Pennsylvania primary about working class people being bitter and clinging to guns and religion. The difference is that the Social Security comment has direct relevance for policies that affect people’s lives. […] If economic and political reporters applied the same sort of investigative zeal to economic and budget reporting as they did to Representative Anthony Weiner tweeting pictures of underwear, we would have a much better informed public. Not only would the news stories that we see and hear be much more informative, but politicians would be less likely to make things up to advance their political agenda.

This Day in Women’s History (July 16)

Emily Stowe... click to read bio.

1880: Emily Stowe becomes the first female physician licensed to practice medicine in Canada. From the link:

Inspired by a woman’s meeting she attended in Cleveland, Ohio, in 1876 Emily Stowe founded the Toronto Women’s Literary Club (in 1883 reorganized as the Canadian Women’s Suffrage Association). Members prepared papers on women’s professional achievements, education, and the vote. The Literary Club campaigned successfully to improve women’s working conditions. Stowe lectured on “Women’s Sphere” and “Women in the Professions.” She said that a woman “ought to understand the laws governing her own being.” Because of pressure by the Literary Club, some higher education in Toronto was made available to women—though Stowe protested that the medical course first planned for women was substandard. Stowe campaigned for better medical education for women and influenced several eminent physicians. In 1883 a public meeting of the Toronto Women’s Suffrage Association led to the creation of the Ontario Medical College for Women.

That’s it for me. What’s on your blogging list?

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

Wonk’s Saturday Reads: Sheros don’t hold their finger to the wind, they ARE the wind

(Click photo to see slideshow of more) Spanish Foreign Minister Trinidad Jimenez (L) arrives with U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for a joint news conference at the foreign ministry in Madrid July 2, 2011. REUTERS/Andrea Comas

Morning, news junkies.

This week’s Hillary pic is actually from last Saturday, but it came out after I wrote up my July 2nd post, so enjoy. (Click on the image–or click here–to see a great slideshow of more Hillary and Trini pics at Still4Hill’s place.)

Before I go on, a moment of silence for First Lady Betty Ford who died yesterday at age 93. Carl Anthony has an appropriate tribute to Betty up… The Revolutionary Moment of First Lady Betty Ford : Her October 1975 Speech still Makes History:

In this excerpt of that now largely-forgotten speech, Mrs. Ford delivered her crisp yet eloquent case for equal rights. As an example of the increasingly political and social importance of First Ladies to the nation, it ranks with two other revolutionary speeches – those of Eleanor Roosevelt at the United Nations in outlining the Declaration of Human Rights, a document she helped draft, and of Hillary Clinton in Beijing at the U.N. Conference on Women.

If you click on one link from this post today, make it the following one… Anna Sale/WNYC: Gillibrand’s Bipartisan Partisan Pitch to Women. It’s a very extensive and informative piece, and while there’s a whole bunch I could excerpt and tease, you really ought to just read the entire thing. I do love these Gloria Steinem quotes on Gillibrand from the article though:

Gloria Steinem herself called Gillibrand “our senator and our future” at the May dinner honoring Gillibrand for her defense of abortion rights.

“Like Bella Abzug and Shirley Chisolm, she doesn’t hold her finger to the wind. She is the wind,” Steinem said.

Since NASA launched its last space shuttle mission yesterday, I wanted to link to a few items about the contribution made by women to the shuttle program:

  • about.com’s Linda Lowen: Many Firsts for Women in NASA’s Space Shuttle Program. As always, I recommend clicking over to give the piece a read for yourself, but here’s one part I wanted to draw your attention to in particular (in part because it reminds me of Hillary’s famous line that “if we can blast 50 women into space, we will someday launch a woman into the White House”):

Even women who’d hit the glass ceiling again and again, like astrophysicist and space scientist Candy Torres, kept their eyes on the prize. As one of the first women to work in aerospace, Torres’ story as told to CNN reminds us of the institutionalized sexism that once prvailed and how inroads made Ride and others enabled women to walk an easier path in their pursuit of a career in space science.

In October 2007, Melroy became the second female space shuttle commander, when she led the STS-120 mission of Discovery. On this flight, Melroy and her crew delivered the Harmony node to the fledgling International Space Station.

It also happened that she rendezvoused with another female commander, NASA astronaut Peggy Whitson, who was commanding the International Space Station at the time.

Melroy said this coincidence actually made a deeper impression on her than being the second female shuttle commander.

“I think to me it was actually a bigger thing that Peggy Whitson and I were flying at the same time in space and that no one had planned it that way,” Melroy said.

Next up… leave it to Big Dawg to sum up the state of the 2012 election cycle thusfar… Via The Atlantic… At the Aspen ideas festival, Bill Clinton Handicaps the GOP Presidential Candidates.

A few other 2012-related odds and ends:

Moving along… here’s a rather bizarre link–Clinton-deranged Margaret Carlson of all people saying “You go girl” to Hillary. Meh.

And, another odd one via NY Mag…it’s an “alternate history” on what would have happened if Obama had been adopted, which… I wouldn’t have even linked to were it not for the incredible pic at the link. If you voted for Hillary in 2008, you will want to click on that!!

So we’ve gone from the ridiculous DC parlor game of floating Hillary as a replacement for Biden to the equally ridiculous one of floating Cuomo for the same. Are DC cocktail parties really that boring?

Speaking of which… apparently DC has gone back to the Victorian age? NYT: A New Shirt Closes a Gap in Modesty.

Here’s a fun Hillary moment on youtube, via Team Hillary Clinton. Love Hillary’s quip at the end that if she had the defense department’s budget, this wouldn’t be happening.

Be sure to check out this Dipnote post on Secretary Clinton Honoring “TechWomen,” if you haven’t read about it already. Teaser:

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton honored 37 women from the Middle East and North Africa and their American mentors who participated in TechWomen, an initiative that harnesses the power of technology and international exchanges as a means to empower women and girls worldwide, on July 6, 2011.

Secretary Clinton said, “…[B]eing a woman in the field of technology is not always easy. Being a woman in any field is not always easy but there are so many opportunities in technology that we just have to forge ahead, and we’re doing so around the world because we want to make sure that all the tools that technology has made available are just as open to women as they are to men. And I also believe that innovation thrives on good ideas, and women have a lot of good ideas. And we don’t want those ideas to just die. We want them to be shared and to help others and to create businesses and jobs and improve lives. And it has a greater impact when technology has access for everyone.

Reuters: Myanmar envoy seeks asylum, U.S. pressure on rulers. From the link:

(Reuters) – The No. 2 diplomat in Myanmar’s embassy in Washington is seeking asylum in the United States because the reports in which he outlined his government’s failures have put him in danger, he said on Tuesday.

Career diplomat Kyaw Win sent Secretary of State Hillary Clinton a letter before dawn July 4 spelling out his disillusionment with the lack of reform in the Southeast Asian nation also known as Burma, he told Reuters.

“Sometimes when you report the facts, they don’t like it,” Win said in a telephone interview, describing his efforts to persuade the junta that has ruled Myanmar for five decades that their repression and corruption hurt their country’s image.

“They would write back: ‘why are you doing these kind of things?'” Win said of officials in the capital, Naypyidaw.

And, one more Hillary item, via stacy at SecyClintonBlog–Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s Next Stop: India and then Indonesia.

I’m going lighter on the Hillary links this weekend (compared to usual, that is!), so I wanted to put a reminder to look out for Luke Fogerson’s Week-in-Review at Dipnote tomorrow. There’s usually one up on Sundays.

Two quick links from Huffpo on women’s issues (both of which mention Hillary’s call to action in Beijing 1995):

And, before ending with today’s historical trivia, I thought I’d just throw this last out there for weekend discussion–it’s an intriguing foreign policy read I happened to catch on Truthdig, by William Pfaff: Democracy Building Is Back in Fashion.

This Day in Women’s History (July 9)

1850: Upon the death of President Zachary Taylor, Abigail Powers Fillmore–wife of Vice President Millard Fillmore–becomes the 16th First Lady of the United States, as her husband assumes the presidency. Here’s a great bio on Abigail:

The Fillmore White House lasted for only two unremarkable years. While her husband is a forgotten president, Abigail can be considered a successful First Lady in that she established the First White House library and encouraged literacy awareness during her short tenure. This legacy would grow years later, when Mary Todd Lincoln added more books to Abigail’s collection. Sadly, Abigail did not live long enough to see her goal fully actualized. She died at age 55 on March 30, 1853, at the Willard Hotel in Washington, D.C. The cause of death was pneumonia brought on by a cold that stemmed from Abigail’s intolerance of Washington’s climate. Had she survived, Abigail would have undoubtedly become an ardent crusader for the cause she cared so passionately about.

Well, that’s it for me. What’s on your blogging list?

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

Wonk’s Saturday Reads: Females are Fabulous (all the moreso during Fourth of July weekend)

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Lithuania's President Dalia Grybauskaite attend the international conference "Women Enhancing Democracy: Best Practices" in Vilnius on June 30, 2011 AFP PHOTO PETRAS MALUKAS (Click photo to read a transcript of Dalia's and Hillary's post-bilateral remarks.)

Morning, news junkies.

Do you remember the I Love Lucy episode where Lucy goes on “Females are Fabulous” (game show which the announcer says is “based on the theory that any woman is willing to make an idiot out of herself in order to win a prize”)? Well, I was watching that episode while I was on the treadmill yesterday, a little after I saw the picture to the right, of Hillary and Dalia, which I instantly knew would be my Saturday intro pick. I figured this roundup is as good a time as any to turn that concept on its head… So here’s to the modern fabulous woman, based on the theory that women can compete in a man’s world instead of having to do stupid pet tricks to be recognized! For this weekend’s roundup, I’m going to stick mostly to items about women who are doing just that. Which means–you guessed it–a whole lotta Hillary.

Hillary in Lithuania…

…on Thursday, heralding the fight for women’s rights as “the great struggle of the 21st century” at the Women Enhancing Democracy Event (great applause/laugh line in bold):

Sometimes dignity means nothing more profound than to walk safely to fetch water or visit a friend without fear that you’ll be beaten, harassed, or kidnapped. But for too many women in too many places, even these most basic rights remain a distant dream. Whether you are a woman in downtown Cairo or a mother in a small Indian village or a girl growing up right here in Vilnius or in New York City, we have to send a clear, unmistakable message that young women, just like young men, have the right to their dreams and their dignity in the 21st century.

When you look back at the last 300 years of history, you can see a pattern. You can see that the 19th century, the great human rights struggle was against organized slavery; the 20th century, the great struggle was against totalitarianism; the great struggle of the 21st century is to ensure that women are fully given the rights they have as human beings – in their families, in their societies, and in the world.

So let us work together, day by day, to make sure that when we meet again 10 years from now, we will be able to look back on progress, not only continuing progress in my country, which someday, perhaps, will match Finland and Lithuania with having a woman president – (laughter) – but in every country everywhere – (applause). And particularly, let those of us who enjoy the benefits of freedom, for whom legal restrictions and barriers have been broken down, and what remains are more internal, more psychological – let us be sure that we keep opening doors for those elsewhere. We cannot take any solace in our own freedoms when women elsewhere are denied those same rights.

…and on Friday, still in Lithuania, issuing remarks on Women’s Rights in the MENA region. (“As one woman put it, the men were keen for me to be here when we demanding that Mubarak should go, but now that he has gone, they want me to go home.”) The New Age, a South African paper, headline on Hillary’s remarks: “Clinton warns against sidelining women in Arab Spring.” Hillary gave a news conference with remarks specifically on Syria as well.

And, here’s a neat interview she did with a female journalist in Lithuania:

QUESTION: Secretary Clinton, former First Lady of the United States Eleanor Roosevelt only allowed female reporters to her press conferences, forcing – so editors to hire women. Do such methods – should be taken in our days for similar reasons, for – strengthen positions of women?

SECRETARY CLINTON: I think that’s a very interesting question. Eleanor Roosevelt is someone whom I admire greatly, and because she would only be interviewed by women reporters, she forced newspapers to hire more women. I think that that is probably not necessary in today’s world because you’re sitting there and I am frequently interviewed by very able women reporters. But I do think that focusing on women’s rights and equality for women remains a very big issue for the world today.

Kat also sent me this great extensive writeup from Bloomberg on Hillary’s remarks about women at the African Union during her travels last month: Clinton Tells African Leaders Economies Would Fail Without Women’s Toil, which I want to excerpt a bit from:

For Clinton, the plight of women has helped drive an aggressive travel schedule that her office says has clocked up more miles than any of her predecessors. She’s gone 567,305 miles, visiting 85 countries in 232 days on the road since taking office in January 2009. She makes it a point to meet local women in impoverished nations.

In Zambia, which hadn’t hosted a secretary of state since Henry Kissinger in 1976, Clinton was met by a singing and dancing chorus of local businesswomen who had taken part in a U.S.-funded program to train female entrepreneurs on how to tap financing and export their goods.

“Have you been to a market? Have you looked at fields being tilled? Have you watched children being raised?” Clinton told her hosts at a meeting in Lusaka, Zambia to discuss a U.S. trade agreement with 37 African countries. “Women are holding up half the economy already.”

‘Anything is Possible’

Among those listening was Linda Moono, part of a group that set up the only Mexican restaurant in Lusaka and helps young entrepreneurs get their businesses off the ground.

“I was inspired, particularly by her focus on young women,” she said in a June 9 interview. “She makes one believe anything is possible.”

Earlier this week, Madame Secretary gave an exclusive to Jim Clancy of CNN International’s Freedom Project on the release of the 2011 Trafficking in Persons (TIP) report: Sec. Clinton on slavery: “Unforgettable and unforgivable” (full transcript at the link):

Watch Sec. Clinton describe her passion for fighting 21st century slavery, which she calls ‘unforgettable and unforgivable’, here.

Watch the full interview here.

Fiercest advocate-in-chief that she is, Hillary also co-hosted an LGBT Pride month event at the State Department with GLIFAA (Gays and Lesbians in Foreign Affairs Agencies). From On Top Magazine’s coverage of Hillary’s remarks at the event–“Hillary Clinton Cheers New York Gay Marriage”:

At the event co-hosted by the Department of State and the affinity group Gays and Lesbians in Foreign Affairs Agencies (GLIFAA), Clinton called the law a historic victory for human rights.

“If you followed closely, which I’m sure all of you did, the debate in New York, one of the key votes that was switched at the end was a Republican senator from the Buffalo area who became convinced that it was just not any longer fair for him to see one group of his constituents as different from another. Senators stood up and talked about nieces and nephews and grandchildren and others who are very dear to them, and they don’t want them being objectified or discriminated against. And from their own personal connections and relationships, they began to make the larger connection with somebody else’s niece or nephew of grandchild and what that family must feel like,” Clinton said.

“So I ask all of you to look for ways to support those who are on the front lines of this movement, who are defending themselves and the people they care about with great courage and resilience. This is one of the most urgent and important human rights struggles of all times,” she added.

BBC News and other outlets also reported on Hillary’s comments about the US envoy in Rome helping Lady Gaga secure Europride show:

“Organisers of the EuroPride event desperately wanted her to perform, and a letter to her from Ambassador Thorne was instrumental in sealing the deal,” Mrs Clinton told a group of gay and lesbian state department employees on Monday.

Fox News, oddly enough, ran this headline… SMART POWER: Hillary Brokers Lady Gaga Gay Pride Gig for Rome.

Shifting the human rights gears back to Hillary’s signature issue… Hillary sent a video message to the “Women Leaders as Agents of Change” Colloquium. Teaser:

Hello and welcome to this colloquium dedicated to empowering women as agents of change. I want to thank the Prime Minister for hosting this important forum. As Trinidad and Tobago’s first female prime minister, she is a role model for women not only in her own country, but throughout the region.

In the United States this month we are celebrating the unique contributions by Americans of Caribbean descent. Caribbean-American women have added in ways large and small to the story of America. We have seen them act as agents of change in our own country.

On Friday, Hillary had this to say about the first meeting of the Lifeline Donor Steering Committee (NGO initiative):

And I think our seven NGO partners are creating a virtual SOS warning platform to improve our abilities to identify where and when people are in danger. So we can get a response as quickly as needed.

In other Hillaryland-related news… from Ann Lewis’ NoLimits.org… Congress: Fair Pay Deserves a Vote:

The devastating ruling in the Wal-Mart v. Dukes case highlights the importance of The Paycheck Fairness Act, which calls for an end to pay secrecy and sex-based pay discrimination. The bill, reintroduced this year by Senator Barbara Mikulski and Representative Rosa DeLauro, would strengthen the equal pay laws, and help take equal pay from the law books to our checkbooks.

The Paycheck Fairness Act would prohibit punishment of employees who voluntarily share wage information; require gender-based data collection, allow employees to compare their wages to the wages of others who hold their job, even outside the workplace, and strengthen compensation and punitive damages for victims of sex-based wage discrimination.

Think of the impact that The Paycheck Fairness Act would have had on Lilly Ledbetter and the women of Wal-Mart. Let’s pass The Paycheck Fairness Act for millions of working women in the U.S.

Click here to contact your representative about The Paycheck Fairness Act.

And, here’s another shero milestone to be proud of this Fourth of July weekend… Last month, the US Army made Pratima Dharm the first Hindu chaplain in US history. I caught a profile of her in an Indian American periodical this week, but I can’t find the article online. The Huffpo piece (from earlier last month) that I’ve linked to is pretty good, though:

“Our motto is priest to some, chaplain to all,” states Chaplain Dharm. She acknowledges her cultural background makes her uniquely qualified to take on the challenge of being the first Hindu Chaplain. She was born and raised in India, and can read and write Sanskrit, the language ancient Hindu scriptures were written in. “The basic principles of Hinduism make being a ‘chaplain to all’ an ideal endeavor. Hinduism by its very nature teaches tolerance, acceptance and respect for all religions, a key characteristic of successful military chaplains.”

I have some other items I want to link to briefly:

Amelia Earhart 74 years ago. (Click to go to the article.)

I have a few different historical trivia reads to cover, but there’s a bit more Hillary stuff all the way at the end, so stay tuned.

This Day in Women’s History:

Donning a helmet and goggles, one 10 minute flight in an open-cockpit biplane was all it took. She was hooked for life. Amelia Earhart is possibly the world’s most famous female aviator. On July 2, it will be 64 (editor note sic 74) years since she was last heard from over the Pacific Ocean. It was one of the last legs of her attempted flight around the world when her radio went silent.

Oh and of course, Today in American History…some milestones to remember this weekend:

Independence Day is celebrated two days too late. The Second Continental Congress voted for a Declaration of Independence on July 2, prompting John Adams to write his wife, “I am apt to believe that [July 2, 1776], will be celebrated, by succeeding Generations, as the great anniversary Festival.”

Adams correctly foresaw shows, games, sports, buns, bells, and bonfires—but he got the date wrong. The written document wasn’t edited and approved until the Fourth of July, and that was the date printers affixed to “broadside” announcements sent out across the land. July 2 was soon forgotten.

(Related: “U.S. Independence Celebrated on the Wrong Day?”)

In fact, no one actually signed the Declaration of Independence at any time during July 1776. Signing began on August 2, with John Hancock’s famously bold scribble, and wasn’t completed until late November.

On July 2, 1964, President Lyndon Johnson signed into law the Civil Rights Act, which prohibited any form of discrimination in public places, as well as authorized the integration of public facilities. To this very day the Civil Rights Act remains one of the most important pieces of legislation, not just for people of color but for all Americans of different gender, religion, and socio-economic status.

One month later, on July 2, 1777, a convention of 72 delegates met in Windsor, Vermont, to adopt the state’s new—and revolutionary—constitution; it was formally adopted on July 8, 1777. Vermont’s constitution was not only the first written national constitution drafted in North America, but also the first to prohibit slavery and to give all adult males, not just property owners, the right to vote.

I’ll close with a snippet from Hillary’s Video Message for Independence Day:

February 26, 2008 (John Kuntz / The Plain Dealer)

Today is a time to celebrate the birth of our nation and the values that have sustained us for 235 years – equality, opportunity and the rights enshrined in our founding documents.

This year, we have been reminded again that these are not just American values, they are truly universal values. And as people across North Africa, the Middle East and around the world risk their lives to claim these universal human rights and freedoms, Americans are proud to stand with them. We are united by our common hopes and aspirations for a better world.

Chelsea, Hillary, and Dorothy Rodham... Pennsylvania 2008

I love the above pic of Hillary ’08 against the blue part of the flag and the stars…I also love this pic to the right with the red and white stripes backdrop for three generations of American women.

Happy Fourth of July weekend everyone! If you get a chance, let us know what’s on your blogging list.

[originally posted at Let Them Listen; crossposted at Taylor Marsh and Liberal Rapture]