Morning, news junkies… it’s been awhile, so welcome back to Caturday!
Please Note: *PAD=Political Affective Disorder.
So, I’d like to start by getting some election season political ranting out of the way as a housekeeping matter. I hope y’all don’t hate me after this, but here goes:
- Can we just take it as a given that Republican pols are generally very skeery people with skeery politics and lying faces (Exhibits A-Z: Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan)? Obviously. Especially to a more liberal (and correctly so, in my liberal opinion) crowd such as Sky Dancing. But, I am kind of tired of this being used as a reason itself to vote for Oprecious, as if he is not guilty of being kinda “skeery moderate Repub” himself on more than a few issues, frankly. Just me personally, ok? I understand this is a stinky lesser of evils game and everybody just tries to make the best decision they can where their voting and advocacy is concerned in an election year. So I’m not judging or pointing any fingers here, but I am asking if maybe we could try to elevate the conversation that is going on *elsewhere* in the blogosphere and offline. I think there are plenty valid reasons to vote *for* Obama (as opposed to *only* against Rom/Ry)–I’m voting FOR O too (and against R/R for that matter), albeit, begrudgingly, and I’ll be glad to devoting a post or three to making that case in the days ahead. But, I’m not going to chalk it up to Dems being saviors, while the GOP is satanic. I mean, they are kinda satanic but, it’s not a compelling argument (to little ol’ me anyway)! Because while upwards of 99% of Republican pols scare the bejeebers out of me, upwards of 90% of pols that claim to be Democrats scare me as well. They’re almost all owned by the Oligarchy/Wall Street/War Party. Even Bill and Hillary, much as I love ‘em, are working within that system, not outside of it. To improve the system, of course, but nonetheless they are part of it.
- I think it is really remarkable that the first time I’ve ever heard so-called Mr. Economy Romney say anything remotely (note: I am not saying fully, just remotely…) intelligible on the economy was yesterday when he pointed out that the job numbers don’t include people who have stopped looking for work. Well, gee, golly, were you just born yesterday, Mr. Romney? Of course, Mittens only said this because all his usual trickle down lies wouldn’t have served his case and telling the semi-truth (see The Note’s Zunaira Zaki and her Fact-Checking Mitt Romney Job Claims) here was actually beneficial to him. And, worse it was compounded by his general inability to make sense on the economy and his wingnut surrogates and their bizarro world conspiracies. The truth is, both the ostensible “left” and “right” made me tune out yesterday with their reaction to the unemployment stats. Neither side cares about unemployed people, period. It’s all tribal and it’s all my guy rulez, your guy droolz.
- It reminds me of Hillary saying, “And, some people think elections are a game, they think it’s like who’s up or who’s down…it’s about our country, it’s about our kids futures…and it’s really about all of us together.”
- Here’s your Lazy Persons, Sununu: Almost 2,400 Millionaires Pocketed Unemployment Benefits (h/t Delphyne)
Alrighty, now that I’ve gotten those doozies out of the way. Are you still with me? I hope so… ’cause I’ve got a few links and discussion for you that I hope bring some relief for you during this political season of suck.
First up… Paticheri: Ethno,Graphic.Food. Go read it. It’s AWESOME. I’ve linked you to the post I’m currently savoring (“A Taste of Salt: Marakkanam, Bar Nuts, and Roasted Tomatoes”) and that I left comments on. It is an incredible trip that will take you around the world on a grain of NaCl!
This next one is a gem of a youtube that I am very very narcissistically proud of myself for digging up this week (go me and my googling abilities!)…
“This Little Light of Mine” was my absolute favorite song in choir as a kid (back when I used to sing…shhhhh!
I love this song even more as an adult and being able to appreciate all the history of human resilience behind it. And, of course it’s a youtube of the wonderful Dr. Bernice Johnson Reagon, Lizz Wright, and Toshi Reagon singing from Harlem… what is not to love?
Another DIVINE youtube (which I snagged from the delectable Owl Report on facebook last week) of Sister Rosetta Tharpe, France 1960. BEHOLD the wonder:
A couple more links…
Happy News about an Unhappy (Degaying…) Practice…via Joyce Arnold’s Queer Talk over at Taylor Marsh’s: New California Law Bans ‘Conversion’ Therapy. Please check it out! Hopefully this is the start of a trend, and eventually kids will be talking about these conversion ‘therapies’ in school the way they now talk about Jim Crow.
I’d like to end with a really wonderful blog by my friend, Marie–a young woman who is so gorgeously candid in her recovery! This is a personal request to check it out and help spread the word to any young (or really, any-aged!) people you know suffering from eating disorders and/or addiction.
Alright, the comments are yours to soapbox all over, Sky Dancers. Make it worth it — and, have a lovely autumn weekend!
I stopped reading Maureen Dowd’s columns after the 2008 election season. Dowd’s attacks on Hillary Clinton, her drift into pseudo-literary allusions and her love affair with all things Barack Obama was too much to bear.
Life is short, I reasoned. So little time, so much to read. Why waste precious moments on mind-numbing crapola?
But yesterday morning, I found a deadly twofer in the Op-Ed section of the NYT. Thomas Freidman [a man I rarely agree with], waxed eloquent on the future of capitalism, now that the shine on globalization has dulled. Not to be outdone, Dowd led with the Tea Party’s warrior cry: ‘Don’t Tread On Us.’ Her tagline?
For the Republican uncivil war on women, we’ll need a take-no-prisoners Democratic general.
We’ll need? As in Maureen Dowd and moi? As in gender solidarity within the Democratic Party now has meaning?
Oh yes, I’m well aware of the Republican assault on all things female, particularly our sexual parts, our inability to make right-minded decisions when it comes to reproduction or contraception. Women are obviously so clueless it’s a wonder we can tie our shoes. Just to be sure we understand what pregnancy is, what it truly means, women in a number of states will be required to have an ultrasound before terminating a pregnancy, otherwise known as a legal abortion. The forward-thinking Great State of Arizona has suggested legislation where an employer can fire you for using birth control. Amazing!
I’m waiting for someone to suggest arranged marriages. Or foot binding.
Hillary Clinton has fought for women’s rights around the world. But who would have dreamed that she would have to fight for them at home?
And then goes on to say:
. . . Republicans could drive women into Democratic arms. . . .And whose arms would be more welcoming to the sisters than Hillary’s?
This is too rich. Hillary Clinton has spent her entire professional life fighting for the rights of women and girls, here and abroad. But in 2008, none of that mattered. Shortly before the New Hampshire primary, Hillary Clinton spoke to supporters. Her eyes welled up. Maureen Dowd’s reaction? In her Op-ed entitled, ‘Can Hillary Cry Her Way Back To the Whitehouse?’ she wrote:
But there was a whiff of Nixonian self-pity about her choking up. What was moving her so deeply was her recognition that the country was failing to grasp how much it needs her. In a weirdly narcissistic way, she was crying for us. But it was grimly typical of her that what finally made her break down was the prospect of losing.
And to further skewer:
She became emotional because she feared that she had reached her political midnight, when she would suddenly revert to the school girl with geeky glasses and frizzy hair, smart but not the favorite. All those years in the shadow of one Natural, only to face the prospect of being eclipsed by another Natural?
Yup, that’s what I call a strong dose of sisterly love! A sharp knife right between the ribs. Get the angle right, there’s barely any blood. And the campaign against Hillary was death by a thousand tiny cuts.
But Dowd was not a one-trick pony. She kept it up. In the piece ‘Wilting Over Waffles’:
Now that Hillary has won Pennsylvania, it will take a village to help Obama escape from the suffocating embrace of his rival. Certainly Howard Dean will be of no use steering her to the exit. It’s like Micronesia telling Russia to denuke.
“You know, some people counted me out and said to drop out,” said a glowing Hillary at her Philadelphia victory party, with Bill and Chelsea by her side. “Well, the American people don’t quit. And they deserve a president who doesn’t quit, either.”
The Democrats are growing ever more desperate about the Attack of the 50 Foot Woman.
Another warm and fuzzy descriptive: Attack of the 50 Foot Woman. What’s not to love?
Dowd whipped it right to the finish line. In a piece entitled: ‘Yes, She Can’:
Hillary’s orchestrating a play within the play in Denver. Just as Hamlet used the device to show that his stepfather murdered his father, Hillary will try to show the Democrats they chose the wrong savior.
Obama also allowed Hillary supporters to insert an absurd statement into the platform suggesting that media sexism spurred her loss and that “demeaning portrayals of women … dampen the dreams of our daughters.” This, even though postmortems, including the new raft of campaign memos leaked by Clintonistas to The Atlantic — another move that undercuts Obama — finger Hillary’s horrendous management skills.
Besides the crashing egos and screeching factions working at cross purposes, Joshua Green writes in the magazine, Hillary’s “hesitancy and habit of avoiding hard choices exacted a price that eventually sank her chances at the presidency.”
It would have been better to put this language in the platform: “A woman who wildly mismanages and bankrupts a quarter-of-a-billion-dollar campaign operation, and then blames sexism in society, will dampen the dreams of our daughters.”
Dampen the dreams of our daughters???
I’d like to dampen Maureen Dowd’s head, a few dunks in the toilet. But to be fair, Maureen Dowd is not the only one revising past barbs and now hyping the Hillary Clinton train for 2016. I’m hearing the pundit echo machine repeat the refrain that Hillary has reached a pinnacle of respect, equal to . . . Al Gore and John Kerry.
Hillary Clinton reached that pinnacle long before these born-again cheerleaders took note. Despite the minimizing of her accomplishments–the 80+ countries she visited as First Lady, her participation in Vital Voices during the peace agreement sought in Ireland and her remarkable speech in Beijing—there were many of us who recognized Hillary Clinton as one of the most talented and dedicated political figures of her generation.
The question is . . . why now? Why the sudden gush of Hillary love after years of pot shots?
Well, riddle me this: who desperately needs the women’s vote in 2012? Sure, the Republicans have gone out of their way to play the Grand Inquisitor of the 21st century, but until recently President Obama specifically and Democrats in general were watching the female vote slip into tight-lipped resentment. But then, who can draw genuine excitement in the female electorate [leaving the dwindling Palinistas out of the equation for the moment]?
None other than Hill, who has been voted as the most admired woman for the last 16 years. With good reason.
Hillary Clinton has stated her role as Secretary of State is likely to be her last public position. I’ve resigned myself to that fact though I’d be thrilled if she were to run again. But the possibility of a future Clinton candidacy has not cast mass amnesia, erased what we witnessed and heard–the flurry of demeaning articles, suggestions that Hillary was ‘pimping’ Chelsea on the campaign trail, that someone should drag Hillary into a broom closet where only the aggressor comes out, that her nagging voice was like everyone’s ex-wife, etc., etc., etc.
If Maureen Dowd and her colleagues have had a genuine change of heart about Hillary Clinton’s extraordinary career, her achievements and leadership qualities, I’m glad for that. But you’ll have to forgive me. I’m more than a little suspicious of rah-rah revisionism when the ‘Change We Can Believe In’ mantra has grown old and stale.
You’re not fooling anyone, Ms. Dowd. We have not forgotten.
To read the biographies of this year’s recipients of the Women of Courage awards is nothing short of inspiring. These are women who have put their lives and futures on the line to improve the quality of life for others, most specifically women and girls in parts of the world where to be female is extraordinarily difficult, even life-threatening. These are women who would make our Bread and Roses mavens proud, infuse enough energy to conjure those slumbering spirits for another boisterous rally, another yelp for dignity and freedom.
Maryam Durani, a member of the Provencial Council, Kandahar, Afghanistan was one of ten women cited and honored last Thursday in a ceremony, hosted by First Lady Michelle Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Here’s a wee bit of her story:
Afghanistan as we all know is not an oasis of women’s liberation. But Ms. Durani has pitched herself against the traditional Afghani sensibility, standing as a role model and leader in a country of ancient tribal traditions and strict paternalistic mindsets. She is the director of the nonprofit Women’s Center for Culture and owns and operates a radio station, which focuses on informing women of their rights. And the inherent risks of demanding those rights.
She should know. A suicide bomber nearly ended her life, leaving her with serious injuries. The death threats haven’t stopped. Yet, she persists as do the women she serves because in a world where women, by virtue of their gender are considered the enemy, a threat by merely existing as autonomous human beings, there is only one response: fight back.
Here is Secretary of State Hillary Clinton introducting Ms. Durani during the Awards Ceremony last week:
Many of the women honored this year and in the past have put themselves on the frontline, encountering serious security threats to themselves and their families. They are not the first and sadly, they won’t be the last. The complete list of awardees can be found here.
In January 2011, many people were horrified when the body of Susana Chavez was discovered in a shallow grave. Chavez, a young poet activist, gave voice to the disappeared women in Juarez, Mexico, nearly 800 women at the time, only to be ‘disappeared’ herself. She was later found tortured, strangled, her body mutilated.
What was her offense?
She would not stop questioning, haranguing, annoying public officials for their inadequate investigations into the deaths of so many women. She was making trouble because she gave voice to those who had no voice, often no identity because their bodies had been disfigured, disposed of, forgotten.
Chavez refused to forget. She refused to be silent. Giving voice to the abuse of others seems to be a constant thread in all these stories.
In addition to the official US awards, PEN International remembered the murdered women writers of Mexico, eleven murders in 2011, five of whom were women. Since 2006, forty-five writers/journalists/bloggers have been murdered or disappeared because of their investigative/ activist work.
Susana Chavez is on the PEN International list. So is Yolanda Ordaz de la Cruz, the mother of two and a veteran crime/political reporter. She was abducted by gunmen in front of her home, only to be later found decapitated. The message is clear: remain silent or this could be you.
Threats, torture, rape, imprisonment and murder is too often the fate of women who will not be silent, who refuse to get with programs that would restrain and silence them and their sisters. And yet, like Maryam Durani and others, they persist. They refuse to back down.
We have our own homegrown fight in the United States, those who would roll back a woman’s right to direct her reproductive life, choose her own destiny. Here the punishment is humiliation, censor, scorn, name-calling, legislative measures to equate a woman’s fully realized life with that of a zygote, even the willingness to probe a woman’s decision-making process [because authoritarians find women incapable of ‘right-minded’ action, otherwise known as ‘their way or the highway’].
In all these efforts, the purpose is to demean, limit, control, even eliminate women because the Daughters of Eve are traditionally viewed as a danger, a threat to the status quo. There’s a reason Lilith is rarely mentioned. She was wa-a-ay too uppity.
But here’s the thing: even for those of us not facing mortal danger, we can have an impact by the way we live our lives, support other women, raise our daughters and sons and in the way we give voice to those who have pushed back against female abuse in all its forms, here and around the world, past and present.
Because to quote Hillary Clinton’s famous line: Women’s Rights are indeed Human Rights. Our quest should be to fulfill Susana Chavez’s words: Ni Una Mas. Ni Una Mas.
Not One More.
I spent most of Saturday inside a mall in Atlanta. The place was packed but people were not spending much, aside from the pretzel joint and The American Girl store. Geez, those dolls were everywhere. Some girls even carried two of these freaky “Talky Tina” incarnate dolls, and what a sight…all three wearing the same outfit. Hmmm, I wonder how many of those dolls come to life and wind up telling Telly Savalas, “My name is Talky Tina, and I’m going to kill you.” (Yes, I know it is a cheap reference to Twilight Zone, don’t worry I have some other stories to share with you that will also have literary or film references.)
Yesterday, Dakinikat posted a link in the comments that I think deserves front page mention. The article is about the latest revelation out of the Catholic Church…and I’m not talking about contraception. Court filing: Bevilacqua ordered shredding of memo identifying suspected abusers
Cardinal Anthony J. Bevilacqua ordered aides to shred a 1994 memo that identified 35 Archdiocese of Philadelphia priests suspected of sexually abusing children, according to a new court filing.
The order, outlined in a handwritten note locked away for years at the archdiocese’s Center City offices, was disclosed Friday by lawyers for Msgr. William J. Lynn, the former church administrator facing trial next month.
They say the shredding directive proves what Lynn has long claimed: that a church conspiracy to conceal clergy sex abuse was orchestrated at levels far above him.
Cardinal Bevilacqua died this past January 31st…
The revelation is likely to further cloud Bevilacqua’s complicated legacy in the handling of clergy sex abuse and could shape what happens at the historic trial, the first for a cleric accused of covering up sex abuse. Jury selection began this week. Opening statements are March 26.
Prosecutors say that Lynn, as the secretary for clergy, recommended priests for assignments despite knowing or suspecting that they would sexually abuse children. Facing trial with him are two former parish priests accused of molesting a boy in the 1990s, the Rev. James J. Brennan and Edward Avery.
The Defense is arguing that the recently discovered memo is proof that the cover up of repeated child sex abuse was directed by church officials.
This story reads like a pitch for a Showtime movie of the week, or maybe a sick mini-series on Lifetime.
After becoming secretary for clergy in 1992, they say, Lynn began combing the secret personnel files of hundreds of priests to gauge the scope of misconduct involving children. He did it, his lawyers said, because he “felt it was the right thing to do.”
The result was his February 1994 memo that identified 35 priests suspected of abuse or pedophilia. Lynn allegedly gave it to his superior, Msgr. James Molloy, the assistant vicar for administration, who shared his duties documenting abuse complaints.
Bevilacqua discussed the memo in a March 15, 1994, meeting with Molloy and Bishop Edward P. Cullen, then the cardinal’s top aide, the filing says. After the meeting, Bevilacqua allegedly ordered Molloy to shred the memo.
One week later, Molloy allegedly destroyed four copies, with the Rev. Joseph Cistone as a witness. “This action was taken on the basis of a directive I received from Cardinal Bevilacqua,” say Molloy’s handwritten notes.
But Molloy apparently had second thoughts. Without telling anyone, he took a copy of the memo, and his notes, and placed them in a portable, locked safe.
According to the motion, that safe remained untouched and unnoticed until 2006, when archdiocesan officials found it and hired a locksmith to open it. It’s unclear why the records inside were only recently turned over to Lynn’s lawyers and prosecutors, although church lawyers have said they have been reviewing thousands of files to comply with trial subpoenas.
Back in 2002, Bevilacqua had mentioned a list of 35 suspected priests, of which the archdiocese had giving information on to the Philadelphia District Attorney. However…
…He did not mention any memo from eight years earlier or his order to shred it.
During 10 appearances before a grand jury in 2003 and 2004, Bevilacqua denied knowing details or playing a significant role in the handling of sex-abuse complaints, saying he delegated those duties to Lynn.
“I saw no evidence at any time that we did any cover-up,” he testified.
This now places some concern about the Cardinals videotaped testimony, and whether he perjured himself…and what effect this will have on the prosecution’s case. James Molloy died in 2006. The article mentions an interview he gave before his death that may have hinted at the memo and extra copy of the list of abusive priest.
In an interview with the National Catholic Reporter, Molloy described reaching a point when “I couldn’t be sure that I could trust my superiors to do the right thing.” So, he said, he became diligent about documenting his actions.
“I wanted my memos to be there if the archdiocese’s decisions were eventually put on the judicial scales,” Molloy said then. “This way, anyone could come along in the future and say, this was right or this wrong. But they could never say it wasn’t all written down.”
It looks as though Lynn has been used as a scapegoat…but if this is all true it sounds eerily similar to the abuse situation and cover-up at Penn State. .
Think about the parallels between the two cases. Though they are not exact, they seem to mirror one another.
In the Sandusky scandal, an assistant coach walks in on Sandusky anally raping a young boy in the school’s gym shower. He goes to the men in charge, head coach, college president and head of college security…and tells them what he saw. The cover up goes from there…and nothing is done to protect the children who are being abused by Sandusky.
In Lynn’s case, two of the main players, the Cardinal Bevilacqua and Msgr. Malloy are now dead…with Penn State, Head Coach Joe Paterno died last month. Testimony was given in both cases to a grand jury before the men died…it would be something if the Feds find a “smoking” gun or memo in the documents they have subpoenaed from Penn State this past week.
Since I have brought up the Sandusky Child Abuse story, I might as well update you on that.
Jerry Sandusky scandal: Feds subpoena Penn State for top officials’ info
I am going to stick with US news for now…so more after the jump.
“I think, and this is just my thinking, that if she leaves after the president’s first term is over and she leaves and she teaches, does something like that, and rests, I think the possibility of being president and being the first woman president in history would probably be too much for her to resist,” Rendell told POLITICO.
“Her life is public service, that’s all she cares about, and I dont think she’s ready to retire,” he added.
Rendell was quoted in Monday’s New York PostOne as saying, “It’s going to be Hillary Clinton in 2016.”
Rendell told POLITICO that what he meant was that Clinton would decide whether to make another run for the White House only after she leaves the State Department. That means she wouldn’t run until at least 2016 because Clinton has said she will stay in office until President Barack Obama’s first term is over.
Clinton has said in many recent interviews that she is looking forward to returning to private life when Obama’s first term is complete and that Secretary of State will be her last public job.
Rendell said there is a core group of 2008 Hillary Clinton supporters — they call themselves “The Last of the Mohicans” — who continue to urge her to run for president again.
Anyway, it’s a fun read and much more inspiring than any of the crap coming out of the 2012 race. We can dream, can’t we?