Thursday, September 17, 2009

Secretary Clinton’s Global Campaign for Women

Secretary of State Clinton Recognizes USAID-supported African Women Scientists.

Ironically, I wrote about the sexism in media coverage of Secretary of Clinton’s trip to Africa a few weeks ago when she was putting her own life at risk to go to places like the East Congo, otherwise known as the Rape Capital of the world. Among the media, the PBS NewsHour with Jim Lehrer was an indefensible offender.

A few days ago, The World of Hillary Clinton published an excellent post titled The Potential in Hillary Clinton’s Global Campaign for Women. Here’s a sample of this must-read article:

No other secretary of State has so focused on women's rights. It's a powerful shift.

When Hillary Rodham Clinton traveled to Africa last month, she visited war-racked eastern Congo to speak out against widespread rape by militias. She choked up after meeting with two rape victims and promised more US help – $17 million for medical treatment and security for victims.

Now she's taking the issue to the United Nations, where the US is leading an effort to shore up a resolution to end sexual violence against civilians during armed conflict. The Security Council passed Resolution 1820 last year, but follow through is sorely lacking.

Women's rights are becoming a signature issue for America's top diplomat. In her official travels, Mrs. Clinton talks with women, meets with female activists, and presses the twin challenges of women's rights and abuse with political leaders. She wants US development aid to focus more on women, and has appointed the first US ambassador for global women's issues.

Read more:

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Kanye West’s Assault on Taylor Swift at the MTV Awards

The Daily Puma’s Alessandro Machi covers Kanye West’s assault (Machi’s term for it) on Taylor Swift at the MTV awards show best and he includes the video of the event. I’ll just add that America’s tolerance for misogynist rappers like West, who consider themselves musicians, is in itself a crime against women as well as an insult to all true musicians.

And for once Obama got it right in his off the record comment that Kanye is a jack*ss.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Sexism and Misogyny Cross Party Lines

Hi friends of Katalusis,

I’m late posting today as I’m working on a freelance writing project and had two interviews to complete plus travel time.

But I did want to call your attention to a post titled I Was Wrong at The New Agenda by Cynthia Ruccia that emphatically reminds us that sexism and misogyny are alive and well in both the Democratic and Republican parties. Among other things, Cynthia talks about being diagnosed with breast cancer, which became a turning point in her life. Believe it or not, she went from being a nerd to a jock! Her inspiring post is a must read, but so are the comments that follow. A great thread developed on the topic of sexism and the crime of rape.

Alessandro Machi, host of Daily Puma, commented:

One thing that might help reduce sexism is to revisit news stories in which women have been marginalized while the men are portrayed as heroic. I think it would be amazing to get female AP writers to revisit some of these types of stories six months later, a year later, and come up with a more balanced version than what was originally reported.

Some examples of women involved in news storeies who should have their role in the story revisited and unmarginalized include LaTreasa Davis, who called 911 when McDonalds STOLE HER MONEY AND WOULD NOT GIVE IT BACK NOR WOULD IT GIVE HER WHAT SHE ORDERED!

Nicole Word was beaten up in court and the judge “heroically” saved her. The Judge got all the glory for saving the damsel in distress but nobody really appreciated the bravery of the woman for standing up to her ex boyfriend both before her beating, during her beating, and then after her beating, she too was marginalized while the judge was declared a hero.

The third story that I would like to see revisited is BeerGate in which Fred Sanford and Barney Fife had a row on the front porch of Fred’s home and Andy Griffith had to step in hold a beer get together at the White House.

The real story was not the men first arguing over nothing, then having a discussion at the white house, the real story was the two women who initially conferred over whether or not to call the police and then how they conducted themselves when they did call the police, was far and above the most interesting part of the story, and they too were marginalized by the media and the white house.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Superman Obama’s Wait and Then Pounce Leadership Style

Frank Rich’s op-ed in the Sunday NY Times offers a revelatory look at Barack Obama’s leadership style. Here’s a sample (emphases mine):

After a good couple of years of living with the guy, we know the drill that defines his leadership, for better and worse. When trouble lurks, No Drama Obama stays calm as everyone around him goes ballistic. Then he waits — and waits — for that superdramatic moment when he can ride to his own rescue with what the press reliably hypes as The Do-or-Die Speech of His Career. Cable networks slap a countdown clock on the corner of the screen and pump up the suspense. Finally, Mighty Obama steps up to the plate and, lo and behold, confounds all the doubting bloviators yet again by (as they are wont to say) hitting it out of the park.

So it’s a little disingenuous for Obama to claim that he is not distracted by the 24-hour news cycle. What he’s actually doing is gaming it for all it’s worth.

Rich goes on to say:

Wednesday night’s address on health care reform was inspired, lucid and, in the literally and figuratively Kennedyesque finale, moving. It was also (mildly) partisan, a trait much deplored by high-minded editorial writers but in real life quite useful when your party is in the majority and you want to rally the troops to get something done. But there was little in the speech that Obama couldn’t have said at the summer’s outset. Its practical effect may prove nil. Short of signing a mass suicide pact, the Democrats were always destined to pass a bill. Will the one to come be substantially better than the one that would have emerged if the same speech had been delivered weeks earlier? Not necessarily — and marginally at most.

I questioned the propriety of Obama calling his adversaries liars – think “death panels” - during his speech while self-righteous outrage erupted when a Republican representative spontaneously shouted “You lie,” in the midst of the president’s peroration.

Keep that in mind as you read Rich’s conclusion:

When we look back on these months, we may come to realize that there were in fact “death panels” threatening Americans all along — but they were on the Afghanistan-Pakistan border and on Wall Street, not in the fine print of a health care bill on Capitol Hill. Obama’s deliberative brand of wait-and-then-pounce leadership let him squeak — barely — through the summer. The real crises already gathering won’t wait for him to stand back and calculate the precise moment to spring the next Do-or-Die Speech.

Reminder: Frank Rich was among the liberal pundits during the Democratic primary caught up in the Obama swoon who joined his sexist brethren in slandering Hillary Clinton at every turn.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Explaining Obamascare, er, Obamacare to “Normal” Americans

It’s surprising enough that the same liberal pundits who in the 2008 primary accused Hillary Clinton of racism and wanting Obama dead increasingly seem to have their heads out of the clouds and their feet on the ground. It’s even more surprising that Bob Herbert at the NY Times in Friday’s column titled The Wild Card is actually requesting his president to show some respect and tell the truth about Obamascare - I mean Obamacare - to “normal” Americans. Herbert offers a little truth-telling himself:

But there’s a wild card out there undermining the chances for real reform, and it’s not the crazies who have been disrupting health care forums or the disrespectful space cadet legislators like the South Carolina Congressman Joe (“You lie!”) Wilson. It’s the ordinary working men and women of America who are struggling with the worst economic downturn they have ever seen and who are worried that the big new plans that the Democrats have in store may not be in their best interests — and may not be affordable.

Many of those folks already have health insurance, and many voted for Barack Obama. But they’re scared to death now as the economy continues to hemorrhage jobs and the budget deficits unfolding before their eyes are being counted in the trillions.

To get meaningful health care reform this time around, the Democrats will have to get that constituency on board. They haven’t yet.

For one thing, the various proposals are not at all clear to the general public and the average citizen is clueless as to how any of them would be paid for. To say that people are skeptical is the grossest understatement.

When the administration talks about getting hundreds of billions of dollars in savings from Medicare to help finance health care reform, it sends a shudder not just through Medicare recipients (who like their coverage just fine and don’t want anyone tampering with it), but also through younger individuals concerned about elderly relatives on Medicare.

The president said in his speech that the savings would come from eliminating “hundreds of billions of dollars in waste and fraud” and the elimination of some unwarranted subsidies. But to the finely tuned ear of the general public, that’s exactly what politicians always say: We’re going to get rid of waste and fraud.

The administration would contend that this time will be different. One can understand why some will remain unconvinced.

The president also said, as he estimated the cost of his proposal at $900 billion over 10 years, that he “will not sign a plan that adds one dime to our deficits — either now or in the future.”

I’m sure he means it. But I have not spoken to anyone, either on Capitol Hill or elsewhere, who believes that is doable. Now it may be that the public should not be so worried about the deficits. They had to be jacked up to get the country through this terrible economic crisis. And health care reform — real reform — is essential if long-term deficits are to be brought under control.

But people are worried about it. And just saying that health care reform will not add to the deficits is not enough to allay those fears.

What’s missing from all the talk about reform is how the runaway costs of health care, and all the dire consequences associated with them, can be reined in without a strong public insurance option and other big-time cost-saving initiatives.

If the government requires everyone — or nearly everyone — to have health insurance, the insurance companies and the pharmaceutical industry will reap a bonanza. What the Democrats still have to make clear to ordinary working men and women is how this latest incarnation of health care reform will be cost effective and broadly beneficial to them and to their government.