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]

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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]

Ohio Lawmakers are Special People

As usual, I have been neglecting you, readers. But expect my neglect to continue. I have been frying bigger fish. For example, I have just been made a section editor at my school newspaper that comes with a handsome scholarship. And my Daddy said people didn’t want to read what I write!

I am appropriately heading the opinion section of the Newspaper. If you are wondering what newspaper I’m going to be an editor at, you can check it out here.  In fact, help a sister out and please do check it out. We’re trying to increase readership and plan on doing some revamping, so feedback is always helpful.

But something alarming has recently (five minutes ago) come to my attention. The ‘Hearrtbeat’ Bill has just passed the House in Ohio.

COLUMBUS, Ohio— The Ohio House has approved three abortion-related bills, including a measure that would impose the strictest abortion limit in the nation.

The Republican-led House on Tuesday voted 54-43 on the measure to ban abortions after the first detectable fetal heartbeat, which can occur as early as six weeks into pregnancy.

The House also approved 64-32 a measure to prohibit abortions after the 20th week of pregnancy if a doctor determines the fetus could survive outside the womb. It voted 62-35 to approve a bill that would prevent certain health insurers from covering abortions.

That means Ohio Right to Life has been put in an awkward position after they opposed the bill and created the stiffest anti-abortion restrictions in the country.

Planned Parenthood said that they’ll file a lawsuit the minute Kasich puts his signature on it.

DAMN STRAIGHT! This is not only unconstitutional, but disgusting. I always joke about being an Ohioan. And normally I would say I’m almost always ashamed of being an Ohioan, but I’m not. Ohioans are good, resilient people. The weather sucks and the economy sucks. That often results in depression, and Ohioans are seldom unmedicated, but our glazed smiles when you say hi to us will tell you that we do what it takes to pull through. And if that means running pill factories near the Ohio river, well by God, we’ll do it!

Ohioans get a bad rap from things like this. We’re a swing state because most of the state is rural, but we have liberal and moderate pockets here and there like Northeast Ohio and Columbus- which was recently referred to by a gay couple on an episode of True Life: I’m Getting Married! as “The San Francisco of the Midwest.”

As a resident of Northeast Ohio I run into all sorts- both wildly liberal and freakishly reactionary, and most of the people I know are one fry short of a happy meal. This may be because I am a magnet for mental illness- even my cat is on prozac. Or it is more likely because Ohio is filled with characters. But we are good people, and the women of Ohio- who all ready struggle with a sluggish economy, do not deserve this shit.

Ohioans are special people, but Ohio Lawmakers should be committed. And if Kasich signs the Heartbeat Bill, he should go to Hell.

Wonk’s Saturday Reads: NY sends forth a Tiny Ripple of Hope

Click to view larger; U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton meets with Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf at the U.S. Department of State in Washington, D.C., on June 23, 2011. (State Dept./ Public Domain)

Morning, news junkies. I’m under the weather, so forgive me if this is scatterbrained.

Marriage equality has arrived in NY. Last night, the New York senate legalized same-sex marriage in a 33-29 vote, and Governor Cuomo signed the bill into law, making NY the largest state where lesbian and gay couples can tie the knot. What an epic moment of pride and history, especially during Pride month, and as Queer Talk blogger Joyce Arnold notes, this is the first GOP-controlled state legislature to pass gay marriage. (Also, remember what Huntsman said about the law earlier this week when asked about it.)

At times like these, Bobby Kennedy’s words at Capetown in June ’66 always come to mind for me.

As dismal as the last decade of political leadership in DC has been, ultimately it could not stop the million different centers of energy and daring that came together on Friday to sweep down the barrier to marriage equality–in the state that sparked the modern LGBT movement to begin with, no less. That’s hope in action, years of activism coming to fruition, putting the idea of change you can “believe in” to shame. What has happened in NY is change that the constituents of that state can now experience–and change that the rest of the country can see (and follow in the footsteps of!)

I only have one quick note on Madame Secretary this time. On Monday, June 27th, Hillary will be hosting an LGBT Pride event at the State Department called “The Human Rights of LGBT People and U.S. Foreign Policy.” Go Hillary! If only someone would hold a WH event called “The Human Rights of LGBT People and U.S. Domestic Policy.” (Obama’s half-assed speech on Thursday to LGBT donors does not count.)

My Nifty graph pick for the week: If Congress Does Nothing, The Deficit Will Disappear (via TPM).

New Deal 2.0’s Bryce Colvert has posted an excellent interview with Roosevelt Institute’s Senior Fellow Ellen Chesler on Wal-Mart v. Dukes: “The Simple Answer is an Equal Rights Amendment.”

Amanda Marcotte on Using the War on Contraception as an Opportunity:

It’s true that anti-choicers are linking contraception to abortion in order to attack contraception, but we can turn that strategy on its head. If they’re going to link contraception and abortion, then pro-choicers should embrace that. And we should use the fact that contraception is widely accepted and even popular to help change the framing of abortion.

If you missed Pulitzer-prize winning journalist Jose Antonio Vargas’ piece “My Life as an Undocumented Immigrant” earlier this week, go read it now!

Mark Kelly and Gabby Gifford are going to be writing a memoir.

Indian American paper honors Nikki Haley as Person of the Year.

Via Huffpo, Women In Power: Annemarie Goedmakers, The Woman Who Brings Light To The Darkest Corners Of Africa. Goedmakers’ advice for young women:

“You cannot do everything on your own. You need people that like you, or like your ideas. It might be your boss, a friend, or a group of women that pushes you for a certain post. It’s essential to have these kinds of sponsors around you. They give just the push at moments where on your own, you wouldn’t be a success.”

That’s what the Sisterhood is for.

Speaking of which, did you hear that Gillibrand and other female legislators beat the Washington press corps in a game of softball on Thursday night and dedicated their win to Gabby Giffords? It’s a nice story… definitely check it out if you need a pick-me-up.

I’ll leave you with a fun and intriguing item before I wrap up with today’s historical trivia.

Earlier this week I saw CNN’s Ali Velshi interview two investigators from the Wellman Center for Photomedicine (at Harvard-affiliated Massachusetts General Hospital). Velshi basically introduced the segment by saying that humans might get to have a glowing pointer finger like ET. I’ve been around as long as ET, so in my lifetime we’ve gone from a sci fi special effect to something that may have practical applications in cancer treatment:

Maybe most promising, however: the Harvard physicists say that the technology could be used to help destroy cancer. While lasers are already used in certain treatments to battle malignant tumors, the ability to aggressively and precisely target cancerous cells from deep within the affected body tissue — using bio-lasers — would represent a major breakthrough in oncology.

Here’s more from SciAm’s writeup last week: Green Fluorescent Protein Makes for Living Lasers.

Today in Women’s History (June 25)

In 1881, Crystal Eastman was born. Teaser, via National Women’s Hall of Fame:

Crystal Eastman, co-founder of the American Civil Liberties Union, struggled throughout her life for equal rights and civil liberties for all. Acquiring her law degree from New York University in 1907, Eastman was one of only a few hundred women lawyers in the early twentieth century.

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

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

Wonk’s Saturday Reads: Strictly Hillary

h/t Still4Hill

Morning, news junkies. My link dump this weekend is almost all Hillary. Enjoy.

I’ll start you off with this op-ed Hillary penned in the newspaper Asharq Al-Awsat yesterday–it’s called “There Is No Going Back in Syria”:

The Syrian people will not cease their demands for dignity and a future free from intimidation and fear. They deserve a government that respects its people, works to build a more stable and prosperous country, and doesn’t have to rely on repression at home and antagonism abroad to maintain its grip on power. They deserve a nation that is unified, democratic and a force for stability and progress. That would be good for Syria, good for the region and good for the world.

Also from Reuters… Clinton and Lavrov discuss Syria U.N. resolution.

What Did Hillary Whisper? (Insert your caption here!)

Next up, a nice and frothy link… “What Hillary Whispered — this is a fun Hillary-themed tumblr that’s been making the rounds (see The Atlantic, NY Mag, and Glittarazzi….Team Glittarazzi calls What Hillary Whispered their new favorite work distraction.)

Now for a series of more weighty links… if you missed it this past Sunday, here’s NPR’s take on Hillary’s trip to Africa: “Clinton’s Africa Tour Underscores The Power Of Women.” For more info, see:

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton talks to Julia Dolly Joiner, Commissioner, Political Affairs, African Union Commission, at the African Union in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, Monday, June 13, 2011. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

Hillary also made a speech at the African Union where she talked about empowering the women of Africa:

And finally, when it comes to economic opportunity and development, we must empower the continent’s women. The women of Africa are the hardest working women in the world. And so often – (applause) – so often what they do is not included in the formal economy, it is not measured in the GDP. And yet, if all the women in Africa, from Cairo to Cape Town, decided they would stop working for a week, the economies of Africa would collapse. (Applause.)

So let’s include half the population. Let’s treat them with dignity. Let’s give them the right and responsibility to make a contribution to the 21st century of African growth and progress. And the United States will be your partner, because we have seen what a difference it makes when women are educated, when they have access to health care, when they can start businesses, when they can get credit, when they can help support their families. So let us make sure that that remains front and center in the work we do together.

My $0.02: Unfortuntately, the US model is coming undone since women’s access to health care (and economic security) are under attack. See:

An op-ed, unsurprisingly published in the NY Post, criticized Hillary for not visiting the Congo and not delivering on a special envoy yet. Hillary did bring up the Congo in her remarks to the African Union though:

In the Democratic Republic of the Congo, we remain concerned about the continued violence against women and girls and the activities of armed groups in the eastern region of the country. Every effort by the AU and UN will be necessary to help the DRC respond to these continuing security crises.

My $0.02: True, it’s words and not actions per se, but to act as if Hillary has forgotten the Congo just because she visited other areas this time is a stretch. I’m sure she’ll never forget the Congolese survivors she has met after all the outreach she has done. Not to mention the fact that Hillary’s Africa trip was cut short by all that volcanic ash this time anyway, so it’s not like she even got to say and do all that she was planning on anyway.

At least the cover art looks like Hillary.

Getting back to the power of women, but in more political terms… The UK Telegraph: “Hillary Clinton must be on the rise – she’s got her own comic.”

My $0.02: Tim Martin’s art blogging at the link isn’t really about Hillary per se, though it does give some interesting background on the maker of the Hillary comic and about socio-political cartoons in general. Nice to see Martin mention the graphic novel Persepolis. I have to say, from the glimpses I’ve gotten of Bluewater’s Hillary comic book so far, I’m not terribly impressed. Still, I take Martin’s point that “if the grinning, policy-spouting simulacra in Female Force and Political Power point even one reader in the direction of these inspiring and adventurous pieces of contemporary writing, their efforts won’t have been in vain.”

Another one about the comic — ABC News reports that the book portrays Hillary and O as friends before the primaries:

The unauthorized, full-color comic book, released last week, describes how in 2003, then-New York Sen. Clinton sat on a tarmac in a private plane, waiting impatiently for a thunderstorm to pass before taking off for Chicago, where she hoped to attend a fundraiser for Illinois state senator and Senate-hopeful Obama. After eventually making it to Chicago, she was blown away by the young politician, according to the book.

“He’s young, brainy, African-American and a terrific speaker,” the book shows Clinton telling an aide. “Just the kind of candidate that we need more of, that Bill and I have spent our lives promoting. There’s a superstar in Chicago.”

“At one point,” Maida writes, “Obama gave her a gift: a photograph of him, Michelle, and their two young daughters, Sasha and Malia. From then until she left the Senate in 2009 … even during their rivalry amid the contentious 2008 campaign … Hillary displayed it prominently in her office.”

My $0.02: Funny how that kind of material made the cut and the three pages where the Bill Clinton caricature got to express his point of view on South Carolina, etc. did not.

On a similar note… Did anyone else catch Mr. Fish lumping Hillary together with every Tom and Dick in DC?

My $0.02: It’s one thing to argue as Taylor Marsh has, that women leaders have not proven to be less hawkish than men, which is a conversation worth having, but it takes a real dick–figurative, literal, whatever–to make the Weiner scandal about Hillary needing to be afraid of people running her out of power, as Mr. Fish’s comic does.

The Clintons in Bermuda, summer of 2009. I'd say this is as good a glimpse as we've gotten of "Hillary's future."

On the neverending DC parlor game called “Hillary’s future”…. More Hillary-should-replace-Biden noise, this time on Huffpo. That is one persistent internet urban legend, Lol. And, over at wowowow, Liz Smith asks this question about Hillary: “Would she do the ‘unthinkable’ and challenge her own party’s sitting president, the man who elevated her to the position of Secretary of State?”

My $0.02: As I asked of Jonathan Alter’s profile on Hillary in the June issue of Vanity Fair, what part of Beaches and Speeches do people not understand? 1600 PA Avenue just isn’t big enough for Hillary anymore.

Incidentally, Stacy at SecyClintonBlog recently spotlighted a Guardian piece from the beginning of this year that I guess popped up again last weekend–it’s called “Clinton is proving that a feminist foreign policy is possible – and works.”

My $0.02: Hillary’s feminist foreign policy is precisely why she’s transcended the White House and has much bigger horizons ahead of her. (Be sure to click over to Stacy’s post–she chose two great photos to go along with the piece.)

Excerpt from the Guardian link:

Back in the heady days of 1970s feminism there was an argument that once women achieved political power, there would be no more war. Margaret Thatcher and her Falklands war exploded that myth, and along with it any residual notion that women might do foreign policy differently from men. Indeed, it became a credibility requirement for any women with a senior foreign or defence brief to give a wide berth to anything with a whiff of being a woman’s issue. Women had to work extra hard to look tough on the world stage. Meanwhile, women’s issues were parked in the softer brief of international development.

It is these unspoken rules that Hillary Clinton has been dismantling since becoming US secretary of state two years ago. She is the most powerful politician to advance an explicitly feminist agenda. Even in that most delicate and crucial relationship with China – on which the world’s attention will be fixed this week for the Chinese president’s visit to the US – Clinton has gone out of her way to press feminist issues. In China’s case, she has highlighted the country’s growing gender imbalance caused by the high abortion rate of female foetuses.

My extra $0.02: I’m glad the author of the article drew attention to this. Even though I was born and raised in the US, I grew up acutely aware of the Indian practice of sex selective abortions–it has always been just as important an angle of the abortion debate to me as a woman’s right to choose. That’s one of the reasons why Hillary earned my support. Her pro-choice view is grounded in a complex understanding of gender politics and iniquity around the world.

In other human rights developments on the global stage…

Yes she did...and she keeps on!

Ever the Fierce Advocate her current boss will never be, yesterday Madam Secretary put out a statement on “the first ever UN resolution on the human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender persons.” From the link:

This resolution will commission the first ever UN report on the challenges that LGBT persons face around the globe and will open a broader international discussion on how to best promote and protect the human rights of LGBT persons.

All over the world, people face human rights abuses and violations because of their sexual orientation or gender identity, including torture, rape, criminal sanctions, and killing. Today’s landmark resolution affirms that human rights are universal. People cannot be excluded from protection simply because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. The United States will continue to stand up for human rights wherever there is inequality and we will seek more commitments from countries to join this important resolution.

My $0.02: It would help if America’s domestic leaders would stand up for the human rights of people here at home, too. Just sayin’.

Also from the fact sheet the State Department put out on “U.S. Accomplishments at the UN Human Rights Council’s 17th Session,” (the session concluded Friday):

VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN

The United States continues to join UN members to call attention to violence against women and girls around the world and improve international efforts to eliminate and prevent that violence. The United States strongly supported a Canadian-led resolution addressing Violence Against Women, took part in annual day discussion on addressing sexual violence against women in conflict, and responded to the report of Violence Against Women Special Rapporteur Rashida Manjoo on the United States.

My $0.02: The fact sheet also has bullet points on the LGBT resolution, internet freedom, business and human rights, and country-specific resolutions. As usual Saudi Arabia is absent from the list.

We’re about halfway-through, so if you’re not bored yet, click to read the rest: Continue reading

Wonk’s Saturday Reads: Remembering Griswold and Anne Royall

1920's Japanese advert for tea suitable for pregnant and nursing women. Apparently it was also good for colds!

Morning news junkies… here are my picks from the week to go with your Saturday morning cuppa. Enjoy.

(the Anne Royall stuff is at the end!)

Women’s Rights

I loved this headline from RH Reality Check’s Andrea Grimes, so I’ll start off with it — “The Pill Kills” Protesters Unwittingly Help Hundreds of North Texans Get Contraception. Last Saturday, about a 100 American Life League (ALL) activists gathered outside a Dallas Planned Parenthood to protest birth control pills for “killing” marriage, babies, and women, using all kinds of lame canards, including feigning concern for women’s health of all things (see the link for details, it’s just too laughable to repeat.) In turn, Planned Parenthood of North Texas asked supporters to donate money for every control freak that showed up to ALL’s protest. More than 600 women will get free pills thanks to the anti-choicers going right off the cliff with their neverending campaign against women, which I’m convinced is the oligarchy’s “gateway drug” to controlling the rest of the 99 percenters. What a way to honor the anniversary of Griswold, too.

Via the American Prospect… Reading between the Rights:

Nearly 50 years after Griswold v. Connecticut, conservatives think the Constitution protects your privacy.

This week marks the 46th anniversary of the landmark Supreme Court reproductive-rights case Griswold v. Connecticut […] Despite the permanent entrenchment of the right to privacy in American constitutionalism, the reproductive rights that Griswold helped to expand are now under siege. Protecting the reproductive rights of American women, in particular, will require determined action in all branches of federal and state government. Progressives should begin by defending the rights announced in Griswold unapologetically. The Court was right 45 years ago, and the rights it articulated in that case are worth preserving.

Taylor Marsh has a great piece up on this as well that she crossposted over at The Moderate Voice under the title “Thank the Gods for Griswold v. Connecticut“:

That Speaker Pelosi, the first female speaker in U.S. history, and Pres. Obama helped Democrats like Rep. Stupak marginalize women’s freedoms in the health care bill was breaking faith with women who helped elect these officials. When Obama doubled down to take funding away from the women of Washington, D.C. he made matters worse.

To teach Democrats a lesson, putting a Republican in the White House would simply hurt more women. However, the economics of the times, which hits women very hard, has taken our eyes off reproductive health care to the economy. The sad truth is we’re not getting equal attention from either big party who’ll be hawking their policies for 2012 and promising the moon.

Don’t believe Obama or the Republican nominee.

Precisely. I know I won’t.

Stem Cell & Heart Research

Next up… Encouraging news, via Reuters… Scientists show heart can repair itself, with help. The BBC has some good coverage as well:

You can read James Gallagher’s report on the breakthrough here, but the research raises the astonishing prospect that we might, one day, teach the human heart to repair itself. A new golden age of regenerative medicine now seems tantalisingly close.

From the British Heart Foundation, which is responsible for the research:

Our Associate Medical Director, Professor Jeremy Pearson, said:

“To repair a damaged heart is one of the holy grails of heart research. This groundbreaking study shows that adult hearts contain cells that, given the right stimulus, can mobilise and turn into new heart cells that might repair a damaged heart. The team have identified the crucial signals needed to make this happen.”

Also in related stem cell heart research news: Cytori Reports Sustained Benefits at 18 Months in Cardiac Cell Therapy Heart Attack Trial (press release, via Reuters).

2012/Politics Reads

I found this next one interesting, even if it has no impact on anything… LA Times: Democrat Michael Dukakis, who didn’t get to be president, wishes the same for GOP’s Mitt Romney. Here’s what Dukakis said on CNN when Eliot Spitzer asked him if there was anyone amongst the GOP slate he could respect:

DUKAKIS: Yes, John Huntsman. I have a lot of respect for him. I don’t want him to be the president, I want the current president to be re-elected, but I have a lot of respect for Huntsman.

I’m really not sure why he wants a “Democratic” president who won’t fight for jobs to be re-elected, other than it’s the politically correct thing for a Democratic partisan to say of course, but speaking of Huntsman… According to a Politico report on his “no-names strategy,” Huntsman and Obama have an agreement not to attack each other personally by name, at least for now.

If Huntsman were to end up putting his hat in for 2012, I wonder how long he could actually last the GOP primary cycle without referring overtly to the incumbent President. Especially in the debates.

In other 2012 developments: The bad news about Newt’s campaign falling apart is that it’s giving the “Rick Perry for president” peanut gallery more to yap about. All I can say is if Goodhair runs in 2012… eesh, that’s too scary to even contemplate. If you’re looking for a short horror story to read this morning, look no further than the Wapo’s piece on Perry weighing a candidacy this go-around, which came out before the Perry people abandoned the sinking Gingrich ship:

Perry has been a virtual crusader against what he calls an increasingly intrusive federal government and a defender of the states to run their own affairs.

The legislative priorities in Texas as of late have been forced sonograms, guns on campus, tax breaks for yachts, etc. The Austin Chronicle has called what just transpired in our legislature the Worst. Session. Ever. Not a state government record to be bragging about, and far from fighting governmental intrusion considering Perry’s declaration of an “emergency” priority for anti-abortion legislation. Keep in mind, too, that Perry is the guy trying to pray the national debt and natural disasters away and elevating hate groups to carry out such nonsense…

Perry‘s Day of Fundie Bullshit

From the UT Austin schoolpaper — Perry’s proclamation draws national attention, incites criticism from non-Christians:

Gov. Rick Perry is attracting national attention after organizing “The Response: A Day of Prayer and Fasting” to deal with a nation “in crisis.”

The daylong “non-denominational, apolitical, Christian prayer meeting” scheduled for Aug. 6 at Reliant Stadium in Houston is modeled after a ritual in the biblical Book of Joel, according to a press release. The American Family Association will cover the costs of the event, a move that has raised alarm from the Secular Coalition of America.

Sean Faircloth, executive director of the Secular Coalition of America, said the civil rights firm Southern Poverty Law Center designated the American Family Association as a hate group in 2010.

“It is sad to see a governor pandering to the most extreme and hateful fundamentalist groups,” Faircloth said.

Earlier this week, Joyce Arnold did an excellent news diary about Perry’s prayer lunacy, as well.

Normally I try to ignore stupid religionist pet tricks of this nature, because there’s always that fine line to walk in terms of making them more important than they are by paying them any attention, but I’ve really had it with this endless Christian Nation crap and their perpetual state of hate this time. It’s too much, and Perry’s involvement in all of this just stinks to high heaven. He should run for President of the American Taliban already, but then maybe that’s what running for POTUS is these days… Anyhow, the long and short of this being, I’m almost tempted to attend the August 6th protest and bring others with me if I can work it out:

Anybody that values the separation of Church and State is welcome to join — non-theists, non-Christian, secular Christians. Please be aware that we are NOT trying to convert or mock anybody’s religion,” the event’s page said.

Happy Pride

All LGBT voters and supporters, and all liberal constituencies of the Democratic party really, need to read Joyce’s post from last Saturday, “A Measure of Pride,” in honor of Pride month:

A photo on the “Winning the Future” LGBT website was taken on June 17, 2009, when Obama signed an executive order increasing benefits for Federal employees with same-gender partners. When I saved it for possible use, I noticed how it was tagged on the website: “lgbt hero image.” That, apparently, is how the O campaign is measuring their pride in accomplishments for Queerdom, at “hero” heights.

I tend to measure accomplishments, and pride in accomplishments, by way of employment non-discrimination protection; housing protection; marriage equality; the end of DADT discharges while the repeal process plays out; prosecution of hate crimes; LGBT kids free to go to proms, protected from bullying … things like that. And more often than not, those I most admire and appreciate are the people – usually at the non-Insider level – who spend years and decades working to make such things happen. These people are the real heroes, the real standard for the measure of pride in being and living as who they are.

Don’t forget Joyce’s Queer Talk later today. I never miss it, and neither should you! (That link should update with her latest post up top whenever it goes up.)

How Did America Get Here

Over at foreignpolicy.com, Steve Walt has food for thought up on what’s ailing our political system and how we got here, which FP is previewing on its frontpage as “Fiddling with Weiners While Washington Burns”:

If we were facing an imminent threat of invasion, we’d be looking for our Lincolns, Marshalls, Roosevelts, and Eisenhowers, and we wouldn’t be wasting our time with the Palin circus, which is nothing more than a “reality TV” version of real politics. Back when another Great Depression was looming in 2009, you actually saw the political system work, precisely because even head-in-the-sand politicos dimly understood that we were in Big Trouble and needed to do something. But once that immediate crisis was over, it was back to gridlock and grandstanding as usual.

That’s because the crisis wasn’t over. The head “politico” himself just bailed out the big banks and told the American people to “sacrifice.”

It’s too bad Walt tags his post only with “Bush’s legacy.” Obama has been given enough time to “change Washington,” and one of the reasons the Palin reality show circus continues is precisely because Obama is not a Lincoln or a Roosevelt. Most of America was looking for a leader to come in and fix the mess Bush made. When there isn’t any meaningful alternative to the corporate welfare agenda facilitated by both the D and R parties, that’s all the more oxygen in the room left for Palin and her tribe, as well as Bachmann and hers, to suck up.

Don’t get me wrong. Palin and Bachmann would make horrible presidents. But, it’s weird to mention one of them in a post about where it all went wrong that says absolutely *nothing* directly about the sitting president of the United States or his personal contribution to this mess.

Well enough about the guys and gals who are failing us on the domestic stage. Yup, that’s a cue up for my reads on you-know-who.

Hillaryland

Hillary and Huma: June 9, 2011, Abu Dhabi

John Kerry ’04 blogger Pamela Leavy over at the Democratic Daily had this to say on the rumor that Hillary is in talks to take over World Bank and subsequent pushback from Foggy Bottom and the White House:

There has never been a woman in charge of the World Bank. Maybe it’s time and who better than Hillary Clinton. Of course, it’s a story that wasn’t, so the speculation is just that. Speculation.

Leavey also noted this on the Kerry-to-succeed-Hillary angle:

Kerry of course would make a phenomenal Secretary of State, but his staff has always squelched those rumors as well.

I don’t know whether Hillary is angling for the World Bank spot or not, but Kerry’s been angling for that SecState spot for what seems like forever now.

Via Jezebel, on Merkel’s photo to Hillary:

Presumably Merkel is trying to own the fact that a large daily in her country thought it was so interesting that two middle-aged women in public life might dress alike, or be shaped alike, or whatever.

But two can play this game. Look, it’s Obama and David Cameron! Except for that pesky American flag, they’re twins. Uncanny.

Heh.

Alright, I’ve got some more links.

Here’s Hillary…

…laughing her heart out with Merkel at the luncheon where Merkel gifted Hillary the photo.

…attending the wedding of Andrea Catsimatidis And Christopher Nixon Cox last weekend.

…in more pictures of her looking elegant in Abu Dhabi. Click to see Still4Hill’s slideshow. (Reuters has more pics just of Huma Abedin smiling at the airport. Huma is an incredible woman.)

…wheeling down in Zambia yesterday. Stacy’s got some great photos up at the link.

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton looks over products made by members of the African Women's Entrepreneurship Program at the Mulungushi International Conference Center in Lusaka, Zambia, Friday, June 10, 2011. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, Pool)

…speaking informally to the African Women’s Entrepreneurship Program:

Business is not an end in itself, it is a means to an end, to be able to educate children, to be able to have a better home, to be able to provide healthcare, to build economies and create more opportunities. And you are living examples of that.

…the action hero, via CNN political ticker…

(CNN) – Powerful. Popular. Able to leap between campaign battles and diplomatic landmines in a single pantsuit.

The latest modern day comic book hero is none other than Hillary Clinton, who is being profiled in a new political comic, “Political Power: Hillary Clinton.”

FULL STORY

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton wraps herself with chitenge material after she was presented with it by members of the African Women's Entrepreneurship Program at the Mulungushi International Conference Center in Lusaka, Zambia, Friday, June 10, 2011. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, Pool)

Open Letter to Hillary Clinton from Ethiopia, By Eskinder Nega. I love these open letters to Madame Secretary from around the world (last week it was from women in Saudia Arabia)–it seems like a whole new avenue for political expression has been opened up! There’s just something “extra” in letters to Hillary that I can’t remember seeing in letters to other US officials in recent history–a sense of dialogue with someone these activists and journalists actually respect. Read the two I’ve linked to and see for yourself. A tiny snippet from Nega’s letter:

The story of Hilary Rodham Clinton is stirring, to say the least. I would be hard pressed to class it amongst conventional rags to riches narratives. While not classically rich, your father, Hugh Rodham, was neither a pauper in any sense of the word. I think the chronicle of your phenomenal rise to fame and prominence rather stands for the ideal absent in far too many countries, but not in the US: the early recognition of merit, its cultivation, and ultimate reward.

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton claps as she is sung to by members of the African Women's Entrepreneurship Program at the Mulungushi International Conference Center in Lusaka, Zambia, Friday, June 10, 2011. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, Pool)

That blurb may make you think it’s all a love letter to Hillary, and there is a huge serving of that in there, so all you Hillaristas out there need to click over if you haven’t already. The crux of Nega’s argument though is about imploring Secretary Clinton and the US not to make the same policy slip-up in Ethiopia that was made in Egypt:

The word on the street, unfairly I believe, is that Hilary favors old, violent autocrats over young, peaceful democrats. This would have had dire consequences for America’s already precarious reputation if not for the personal popularity of President Obama.

What’s funny is if you read through, the entire thing reads like Hillary’s the one who can change anything and Obama’s the one who’s just there to smile and look nice.

Today in Women’s History (June 11)

Anne Royall

1769: Anne Royall, Godmother of Muckraking, was born. From the link, which was published on Alternet right after the 2010 midterms (and was a reworking of an earlier post on Royall’s birthday in 2008):

She would have skewered the rising Tea Party phenomenon with her take-no-prisoners wit.

She would have lectured President Obama and his floundering Democrats for their electoral train wreck.

More importantly: Just as she did on the heels of the 1836 elections, with another speculative banking and economy crisis readying to explode and lead to our country to its first bonafide great depression, Anne Royall would have admonished our nation’s journalists and bloggers to expose the corruptive influence of money in politics.

In many respects, Anne Royall was our nation’s first blogger–the godmother of muckrakers whose wicked and insightful newspaper in the 1830s in Washington, DC serves as a compelling story of her pioneering role for contemporary women journalists, commentators and writers like Arianna Huffington, Rachel Maddow, Amy Goodman. Molly Ivins, Laura Flanders, Katrina vanden Heuvel and Maureen Dowd.

Somehow I’m having a hard time imagining Anne Royall writing the “Your Tweetin’ Heartcolumn that Maureen Dowd just wrote.

Well that’s it for me… what’s on your blogger’s plate this morning?

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

Wonk’s Saturday Reads: Rihanna, MAC, and Hillary (Fighting Sexual Violence)

Vintage cafe postcard, circa 1920

Note: I got the postcard above from here, which
seems to have originated from a site that’s now defunct,
but there’s another (slightly grainier) scan on flickr.

Morning, news junkies. You know the drill. Grab a cuppa something (like the French Flappers are doing to the right) and read on…

(Oh and if you were one of the 18 million who voted for Hillary, don’t miss today’s historical trivia at the end!)

Rihanna’s “Man Down”: What Do You Think?

Here’s a link to the youtube if you haven’t seen the video yet, and also be sure to check out Rihanna firing back at her critics.

I’ll say upfront as a general disclaimer that I’m a firm believer in nonviolence (cases of self-defense being the obvious exception). Nonetheless, I find it disturbing that comparatively speaking Rihanna has caught more flack, judgment, and reproach— for depicting a character whose constant lyrical refrains pointedly ask how could she take the life of somebody’s son, even though that “somebody’s son” has just sexually assaulted her– as opposed to Eminem, who rose to fame largely on the popularity of songs where he fantasizes about brutally killing his wife for infidelity. Of course Eminem’s songs always draw controversy too, but that has only ever seemed to fuel his star power. In Rihanna’s case, a female enterainment reporter has written a post on Huffpo declaring Rihanna the falling star of the week. At any rate, I don’t think Rihanna’s video or lyrics are even saying that violence is the answer (which is what her critics are charging), but I’ll let you judge for yourself and have at it in the comments. The other angle to this I’d like to put out there for discussion is that Rihanna’s character in the video embraces the sensual human being she is rather than covering it up in a burka (as the Crunk Feminist Collective discusses at the link.)

Hillaryland

Click to Go Viva Glam!

Continuing on the theme of confronting the problem of violence against women… On Thursday, Madame Secretary announced A New Public-Private Partnership With the MAC AIDS Fund to Combat Gender-Based Violence in South Africa. Here is a link to the Mac Aids Fund website.

Ahead of the live stream of Hillary’s remarks on the state.gov site, MTV Act’s Caroline Walker previewed Hillary’s announcement — Hillary Clinton Goes Viva Glam, Teams Up With M•A•C AIDS Fund:

Since 1994, the M•A•C AIDS Fund has been raising money to combat AIDS and its large scale effects, both domestically and abroad. Let’s think for a moment where the world’s sociocultural temperature fell around perceptions of the causes and prevention of HIV/AIDS in the early ’90s: not so informed, not so solution-focused. M•A•C truly did and continues to trailblaze by crushing stigma and engaging consumers.

Celebrities–including inaugural ambassador RuPaul–have been lining up for 26 years to endorse Viva Glam lipsticks, products that have raised $200+ million by putting 100 of sale proceeds toward the foundation. Lady Gaga’s shade is the latest installment, officially described as “light, warm beige,” best visualized as matching her condom-inspired flesh-toned Latex power suit of ’10. Safe sex is all the rage.

But back to Hillary. In a fierce effort to connect the public and private sector in global solutions to combating AIDS, the U.S. government is joining forces with the M•A•C AIDS Fund to provide much needed money and support to victims of rape, sexual violence and infection in South Africa. In addition to the expected health care and educational services, the partnership will empower these women to stand strong by providing psychological counseling and legal services as recourse for assault.

Walker ends her post on a lighthearted note: “If Hill shows up in the original ‘intense brownish-blue red (matte)’ Viva Glam I, she’s getting my vote for any and all future endeavors.”

I’m not sure what shade of lipstick Hillary was wearing, but for what it’s worth, she WAS wearing an intensely brown jacket that is reminiscent of the design she and Amy Poehler wore on SNL. Not exactly the same jacket though as far as I can tell.

You can see the video of Hill’s announcement for yourself–lipstick, foreign policy, pantsuit and all–at Dipnote. From the transcript:

The partnership we are announcing today is part of that wide-ranging approach, because when a woman is raped or if she cannot negotiate with her partner for safe sex, she risks being exposed to HIV. We cannot stop the epidemic of HIV unless we also address the epidemic of violence against women.

I’m going to tie in a couple items specifically about AIDS awareness in a moment, but a few more Hillary links first:

(Slideshow via Cooliris, h/t Still4Hill.)

(This is the kind of response we need to the war on women on the domestic stage here in the US.)

AIDS Anniversary

Sunday marks 30 years since the first AIDS cases were reported. Since then, H.I.V. science has been translated into prevention and treatment breakthroughs, one of the greatest being the antiretroviral treatment that has ensured that millions of H.I.V.-positive people can lead healthy lives.

[…]

A cure will require funding commitments, strong community engagement, rigorous and innovative scientific endeavor and, above all, further collaborative multidisciplinary science with a better connection between basic and clinical research — in short, all the same ingredients that got us where we are today with the global antiretroviral treatment.

Thirty years is a long time and yes, we still do not have a cure. But if we do not seriously start looking for one, now that the science is telling us that perhaps we should be, do we want to be here in another 30 years regretting that we did not try?

Françoise Barré-Sinoussi is director of the Regulation of Retroviral Infections Unit at the Institut Pasteur in Paris and president-elect of the International AIDS Society. With Luc Montagnier, she was awarded the 2008 Nobel Prize in Medicine for their discovery of H.I.V.

HIV Infections Dropped 25 Percent in Last Decade…But the health gains are unevenly distributed and fall short of international targets.

Wapo’s Monica Hesse: Listen up, fellas: Naked man-parts? Not so sexy.

Not the best segue way from discussing AIDS awareness and research, but I just had to include this. It’s in reference to all the crotch shots that have been in the news in recent years. Teaser:

We polled some women. Really, they would like to see . . .

“I would like a photo of a made bed,” says Kathryn Roberts, who works at a law firm in Washington. “I would take rose petals, but I want them on top of a made bed.” And not that fake kind of made, either, where the comforter is smooth but the sheets are a jumbled mess.

“Or laundry,” adds her friend Andrea Neurohr.

“Folded laundry,” elaborates Roberts. “Maybe in a wicker basket.”

Preferably laundry not folded by the maid he had a love child with.

That “wicker basket” add-on is a hoot.

Incidentally, on the topic of what men can do to seduce women, I saw a classic King of Queens rerun the other day–the episode where Kevin James shows Leah Remini how to pole dance. I’m embedding it here for anyone who could use the extra laugh today.

The Identity Politics of This Season’s Top Chef Masters

If Bravo bores the daylights out of you, then just skip this… but what did I tell you the other week? They’ve totally made it obvious that their season 3 gimmick/hook is whether or not a woman will finally win. So after a crazy science fair episode where the chefs were cooking with beakers and bunsen burners and serving their food in petri dishes, we’re down to the last four: Traci, Naomi, and Mary Sue–three strong female contestants who have all racked up wins in the quickfire and elimination rounds–and Floyd, who god love him ’cause he’s Indian and he can pull off serving Buffalo burger with paneer. But, he hasn’t won any quickfire yet–and the only elimination round he’s won is the buffalo and paneer. Then again last season’s winner didn’t start racking up wins until the penultimate episode either… so who knows. Either way, whether it’s a girl chef or a Desi chef who wins, Bravo managed to cover both my demographics this time, Lol. I’m really pulling for all the girls, though, especially Traci.

Alice Paul sewing the suffrage flag.

June 4-7 in History

“I always feel … the movement is a sort of mosaic. Each of us puts in one little stone, and then you get a great mosaic at the end.”

Alice Stokes Paul, suffragist; U.S. Congress passed the Nineteenth Amendment on June 4, 1919 (ratified on August 18, 1920).

Shirley Chisholm, 1972

“I am a candidate for the Presidency of the United States. I make that statement proudly, in the full knowledge that, as a black person and as a female person, I do not have a chance of actually gaining that office in this election year. I make that statement seriously, knowing that my candidacy itself can change the face and future of American politics — that it will be important to the needs and hopes of every one of you — even though, in the conventional sense, I will not win.”

— Shirley Anita St. Hill Chisholm, June 4, 1972.

Hillary wins New Hampshire

“You can be so proud that, from now on, it will be unremarkable for a woman to win primary state victories, unremarkable to have a woman in a close race to be our nominee, unremarkable to think that a woman can be the President of the United States. And that is truly remarkable.”

Hillary Diane Rodham Clinton, June 7, 2008

The real deal ran in 2008, but the Democrats passed up on her, so if it’s a tea partier who happens to put her one little stone in this time, the thanks for that can be laid just as much at the DNC’s doorstep as it can be at the RNC’s.

Besides, the Ds and/or Rs will have to put a woman at the top of one of their tickets before I’ll believe they’re capable.

And if you’re already tired of the Palin bus-to-nowhere, here’s a contrast from the other side: Roseanne Barr’s double campaign for President of the United States/Prime Minister of Israel. Her “Green Tea Party” platform is a wild, albeit hyperbolic, glimpse into what a populist left corollary to the tea party would like if there was a national figure who they could rally around right now. Then again, if it’s going to be an equal and opposite reaction to the lunatic right, it needs to be hyperbolic. Obligatory disclaimer: Roseanne runs her mouth with no filter on her as usual, so you know…filter out the stuff that works as brilliant social satire and/or commentary, and for the parts that don’t…just use brain bleach as needed! I skipped most of the “re-education camp” paragraphs, but I did smile at her “people-ism” hybrid of socialism and capitalism and the “Change the demographics of government” section. Those two were keepers.

Well, that’s all I’ve got for now. What are you reading and blogging about this Saturday?

I’d also love to hear your thoughts on what I’ve blogged about…

  • What do you think of that Rihanna video? Hit or Miss?
  • Will we ever find a cure to AIDS?
  • Will a woman run in 2012?
  • What’s the “folded laundry in a wicker basket” scenario that you’d rather see?
  • And, most importantly of course, who is going to win Top Chef Masters?

P.S. Just saw on yahoo that Pink gave birth to a baby girl! Isn’t that sweet? Pink is one female pop artist of my generation who just ROCKS, plain and simple. Raising my glass to Pink and little Willow Sage Hart.

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