Saturday Reads in Sheroville

Greeting Madame Secretary. Dec. 2, 2010, Tashkent, Uzbekistan. (AP/Anvar Ilyasov)

Good morning, news junkies! Wonk here, under the weather with a terrible sinus bug. I hope this roundup is semi-coherent.

It’s Saturday, December 4th, 2010, and on this day in history in…

1791: The first edition of The Observer, the world’s first Sunday newspaper, is published; 1881: The first edition of the Los Angeles Times is published; 1943: The Works Progress Administration ends; 1961: Birth control pill ‘available to all’ (BBC)— Women who wish to take oral contraception may do so on the National Health Service; 2000: The Supremes rule on Bush v. Palm Beach County Canvassing Board.

The Pill, The Papers, The Works Progress Administration, oh my! Oh, and we sure could have used another WPA instead of another Bush.

Of course, on this day in the present… Tax Cut Theatre presents… drumroll please… Inside the Beltway: A Deficit of Purpose(that’s from the NYT editorial board in today’s Gray Lady). Here’s a Reuters overview of the provisions in the Tax bill expected to fail in the Senate today. I’m sure the day will be filled with coverage of this kabuki, so enough of that for now.

Onto a Wonk the Weekend link parade, with a Shero emphasis on who else…

Don’t shoot me, I’m just the messenger: (Reuters) – “Hillary Clinton said Friday she would not run for president and her current job as secretary of state was probably her last public position and she would focus on women’s advocacy work after leaving office. Clinton, who has repeatedly laughed off suggestions she might still want to take command of the White House, told an audience of Bahrain students that she was not contemplating a repeat run for president after losing to Barack Obama in 2008. ‘No, I’m not,’ Clinton said. ‘I think I’ll serve as secretary of state as my last public position and then probably go back to advocacy work, particularly on behalf of women and children.’” (Alright, that’s my cue: As much as I love blogtrotting with Hillary as she travels around the globe, I can’t wait to see The Hillary Rodham Clinton Foundation finally realized when the day comes.)

It’s been a Wikileaks Week of Diplomacy Havoc for Secretary Clinton (wikileaks link goes to the Guardian’s coverage), with the Vast Right Idiocy exhaling from the grave to say their ugly-nothings (or as Taylor put it the other day, Because Dick Morris is a Jackass.”)

As Obama passes the domestic buck yet again (click for C-span video of Obama talking to troops on a surprise visit to Bagram), he is no doubt breaking the heart of yet another batch of supporters who “wanted to believe.” Then, there is his Secretary of State, connecting with the grassroots everywhere she goes —Hillary Clinton’s Bahrain ‘Townhall’ goes a-Twitter(via Meera Rani at the Khaleej Times):

“Meanwhile, in the audience, a quick poll showed that young Bahraini girls were more keenly aware of world politics than the boys. Although Hillary Clinton is too big a name for anybody to not to know, many boys said they were unclear of her exact role in the US government. Bahraini girls, on the other hand, were full of questions that they would have liked to ask her about her work-life balance, her career path and world view. Aysha Hamad, 25, said she would like to understand how Clinton got out of the shadow of her powerful husband to carve a career for herself. Perhaps the most promising observation came from Isa Aziz, 19, who shrugged that while he was not personally interested in politics, he would definitely vote for women in Bahrain because progress ‘..was about ability and not gender!'” For the rest of the Bahrain townhall, you can view the transcript.

Speaking of the Energizer Secretary, heard at the Hillary Townterview in Kyrgyzstan on Thursday (via MODERATOR 2: How many hours do you sleep? SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, it really depends upon what else is going on. I’ve been kind of busy this week, so I haven’t slept many hours. But I try to get six hours. And then on the weekends, I try to make up for it, because you can’t go too long with too little sleep. It starts to impair your judgment. And so even when I can’t sleep a lot during the week, I try to catch up on the weekends.”

Also heard at the townhall in Kyrgyzstan… Hillary, in Ah-the-remnants-of-sexism wry smile mode: “MODERATOR 1: Okay. Which designers do you prefer? SECRETARY CLINTON: What designers of clothes? MODERATOR 1: Yes. SECRETARY CLINTON: Would you ever ask a man that question? (Laughter.) (Applause.) MODERATOR 1: Probably not. Probably not. (Applause.)”

Now that’s a charm offensive!

One more snippet: “MODERATOR 2: What inspires you? SECRETARY CLINTON: People who have the courage to stand up for human rights of themselves, and particularly others. That I find very inspiring. Leaders who put the needs of their people and their rights ahead of their own personal benefit.”

People and rights before personal profit. Obama is inspirational, but it is Hillary who is inspired. (BTW, people-over-profit, how do you translate that in Caviar commission-speak? On second thought, I can’t imagine there are any terms in the CC manual for the concept of good governance.)

Back at (in an ideal world, that would be a valid url), on Friday: Ambassador Verveer welcomes participants to a conference on International Day of Persons With Disabilities.”


Need a Laugh? Try Brother Husbands! (h/t Fredster)


Peter Daou earlier this week: “It’s a nightmarish joke that Republicans and Tea Partiers want to assail President Obama for denying American exceptionalism, while doing everything possible to undercut it.” Perfectly said, but of course, on the other side of the mockery, the great DLC/Clinton Slayer That Never Was… wants to call himself a Blue Dog, not to mention do everything to undercut the domestic policy legacy of FDR and LBJ. Another sick joke for sure, though it is no surprise. (See Politico, March 2009: “I am a New Democrat.” –a newly inaugurated President Obama )

Of course I could quote the dead giveaways from the ’08 primaries, as well, but ’tis the season to be generous and it’s not even necessary to go to that well. This so-called Democratic president’s declarations of independence from core Democratic principles has been on trainwreck display for everyone left-of-center to see and hear with their own lying eyes and ears since his tabula rosa took the oath.

From Wednesday on nakedcapitalism. Matt Stoller says End This Fed. Check out Dakinikat’s comments on Stoller’s thread and her post if you missed it. I wanted to include it in my roundup because the image that struck me while reading all this was a bit chilling: B. Hoover Obama has stuck the shiv in the Democratic party, and the right-wing scavengers have arrived to openly feast on its remains. Yeesh!

The one other story I wanted to touch on briefly and open up for conversation is the dustup over Angelina and her Bosnia movie — link takes you to Melissa Silverstein‘s writeup of the situation at Women and Hollywood.

Also from Hollywood Reporter (H/T Minkoff Minx): “Jolie asked that the women hold their judgment until they have seen the movie, which features a love story between a Bosnian woman and Serbian man. ‘There are many twists in the plot that address the sensitive nature of the relationship between the main characters,’ she said. Jolie explained that she originally decided to write a screenplay to highlight her frustration with the length of time it takes the international community to intervene in conflicts. ‘It kept leaning toward Yugoslavia at the time, I wanted to learn more about it and the people, the more I read and learnt I was drawn to that part of the world,’ she said. ‘I met artists from that part of the world and found they were extraordinary for what they’d gone through, so I wanted to give them a platform.'”

Hmm. Reminds me of the Hindi film Pinjar (based on the novel by the same name–this is a link to a writeup on a lecture series from a couple years ago). The word literally means “skeleton,” but it can also mean “cage.”

So, let’s dish!

What’s your take on the Angelina story? Sounds to me like a case of the media’s three favorite pastimes: hype, misinformation, and mischief.

I say Let Angie Direct, and the calls for her to be stripped of her UN role over a script that we have only a vague plot idea about are over the top.

What’s next for Hillary? Will she go straight back to her public advocacy roots whenever she moves on from Foggy Bottom? Or, is she playing women-dimensional chess?

I’m skeptical as ever Hillary running again, but she still has my vote if she ever needs it.

And, back to where we started– So what about that corporate mush that will be masquerading as a Senate vote today? My two, you ask? Like I said a few days ago, it all boils down to… We are so f’d.

On that note, this is Wonk signing off and wishing everyone a serendipitous Saturday. Here is a mini-photo bomb, shero-style, to cheer you up. Click to view full size & Enjoy!

Hillary is greeted by Kyrgyz First Deputy Prime Minister Amangeldy Muraliyev at Manas airport in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, Dec. 2. (AP/Maxim Shubovich)

Madame Secretary signing agreements in Uzbekistan, Dec. 2. (AP/Anvar Ilyasov)

Roza & Hillary: Kyrgyz President Roza Otunbayeva (R) shakes hands with Secy. Clinton, Dec. 2. (Reuters)

Hillary meets with employees of the U.S. Embassy in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, Dec. 2. (AP/Maxim Shubovich)

What are you … …reading and ruminating on this morning?

Cross-posted at Let Them Listen, Liberal Rapture, and Taylor Marsh.


51 Comments on “Saturday Reads in Sheroville”

  1. Senate to Vote on Bush-Era Tax Cuts

    Senate: C-SPAN2 at 8:15am ET

    The Hill: Dems to Force GOP to Vote on Tax Cuts

    Front C-span’s homepage right now:

    Senators will first take a procedural vote to limit debate and move forward on an amendment from Sen. Baucus (D-MT) to permanently extend the Bush-era tax cuts on incomes up to $200,000 for individuals and $250,000 for married couples, as well as tax breaks for capital gains and dividends. If the vote fails then the Senate will move on to consider Sen. Schumer’s (D-NY) amendment to extend the current tax rates to all income levels for Americans earning up to $1 million.

    The White House and selected members of both parties of congress continue to meet to see if they can reach some agreement on tax cuts, an extension of unemployment benefits and how to fund the government for the rest of the fiscal year.

    • Zaladonis says:

      The White House and selected members of both parties of congress continue to meet to see if they can reach some agreement on tax cuts, an extension of unemployment benefits and how to fund the government for the rest of the fiscal year.

      “Hey Benny, great breakfast spread your people put out here. Oooh, I love mimosas!”

      • paper doll says:

        The ship’s orchestra is tuning up and will start playing “Nearer my God to thee ” any minute now …

        The White House and selected members of both parties of congress continue to meet to see if they can reach some agreement on tax cuts, an extension of unemployment benefits and how to fund the government for the rest of the fiscal year

        I predict this will go the way of the HC “reform” sham….a prolonged shadow play that gives the money bags everything they wanted in the first place…you heard it here

        • Zaladonis says:

          Yup, it’s not only just theatre, it’s bad theatre because how it ends is so obvious.

          • A captain obvious update from C-span’s homepage:

            Senate Votes Down Extension to Bush-Era Tax Cuts

            The Senate earlier today failed to advance two Democratic proposals to extend the Bush-era tax cuts when they expire at the end of the year. The first proposal, by Finance Committee Chairman Sen. Max Baucus (D-MT) was voted down 53 to 36, failing to achieve the necessary 60 votes required to cut off a filibuster. The Baucus amendment would have permanently extended current tax rates on incomes up to $200,000 for individuals and $250,000 for married couples, along with a host of other extensions of current tax breaks.Read More »

            The second proposal, offered by Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) also was blocked from advancing on a vote of 53 to 37, again failing to reach the required threshold of 60 votes. The Schumer amendment would have extended the current tax rates to all income levels for all taxpayers earning up to $1 million.

            Meanwhile, a small group of lawmakers from the House and Senate are continuing their negotiations off the floor to see if they can reach some kind of compromise on extending the Bush-era tax cuts.

            Senate Vote Tallies

    • bostonboomer says:

      Hi Wonk,

      Thanks for this great post and for the Hillary news. The Matt Bai story is unbelievable. Thanks for that link.

      Hope you feel better soon. I know what sinus trouble is like. I’ve got lingering sinus symptoms from a cold I had a month ago.

    • A teaser from the Gray Lady editorial (“Deficit of Purpose”) linked up top:

      Mr. Obama still seems coolly unperturbed about Republican intransigence, and his negotiators are apparently willing to consider trading an extension of the tax cuts for votes on the treaty and the unemployment benefits, now more vital than ever. But imagine if he had taken to the airwaves, raised his voice and said he would not allow tax cuts for the top 2 percent of households when the money could better be spent on creating jobs?

      I tried to imagine Bunraku Obama (I coined another one while I was in between blogs!) doing that, but my mind drew a blank.

      BTW, here’s the youtube I used to introduce “Bunraku Obama” at the link:

      • dakinikat says:

        That’s pretty fun.

        • the funny part is if you read the description under the video on youtube — it was actually created to defend Obama. LOL! I thought it was meant to be a light parody of him when I originally saw it, but then I read the descrip:

          Just for the record, I’m getting sick of hearing people beat up President Obama ever day because of the mid-term election loses. To quote President Clinton and his old war room: “It’s the economy, stupid!” Obama is dealing with the greatest economic downturn since the Great Depression and no matter what anyone else thinks, its going to take some time to undo the mess that 8 years of George W. Bush and the out of control Wall Street crowd created.

  2. grayslady says:

    Thanks for the round-up, Wonk. I empathize with the sinus infection. Only things that work for me are plenty of saline nasal spray and, when that can’t quiet things down, a steroid nasal spray, since my attacks seem to be triggered by allergic reactions. Hope you feel better.

    As someone who is Hillary’s age, I can relate to the exhaustion she must be feeling with the constant travel and meetings–not to mention always having to be at the top of your game. But, hey, it’s okay, according to the Beltway crowd, to postpone SS benefits until you’re 7 years older than Hillary.

  3. Pat Johnson says:

    Is it too soon for me to admit that this is not the America I know and love?

    When a nation ignores its poor and downtrodden for the sake of their wealthiest it is time to measure and evaluate just who we are. When lawmakers act on behalf of their corporate donors then what we once upheld as the “common good” has all but disappeared from the dialogue.

    The meannness and misery of what we are witnessing in the waning days of this congress should be enough to ensure that we are most definitely on the decline and have lost the moral compass that once guided our actions throughout the years.

    Three hundred million people are in the greedy grasp of less than 600 members of congress who seem to owe their allegiance to a band of thieves and who walk proudly through those revered halls without a conscience.

    We can no longer take pride in who we are and what we represent when watching this “Kabuki theater” overwhelm our principles that once clearly defined us as Americans.

    • Scrooge is in ascendancy, covering up the America I know and love, with socialism for themselves and austerity for everyone else.

      I often think of the following Hillary clip… not because of the primaries so much at this point, but because Hillary herself has always been ahead of her times… she was on health care and on NAFTA too…

      Another cassandra who could see that if the path we were on went uncorrected, we wouldn’t recognize our country anymore:

      • paper doll says:

        I think of this clip as well…and it answers WHY she fought so damn hard….no one could have done as much as she and her family did up against the world’s top .9999 % full court press ….few would even try.

        Hillary Rodham Clinton:patriot

      • Delphyne says:

        Makes me want to cry all over again…

        Hope you’re feeling better soon, Wonk!

        • thx Delphyne. btw, I miss seeing new posts at your 7yearoldwitch blog (no pressure! I know how the blogging muse can wax and wane and life just gets busy.)

          • Delphyne says:

            Thanks, Wonk – you’re right. I haven’t been blogging – in the midst of a move and remodeling. Plus my brain feels – well, in hibernation. Perhaps it will awaken with the returning light. Thanks for checking in on my little blog! And, really, I hope you’re feeling better soon! (I use colloidal silver nasal spray with lots of luck with the sinus thing…)

    • Sima says:

      NO, it’s not too soon. I’m finding the whole thing demoralizing and depressing. I keep reminding myself that if I get so demoralized and depressed I stop caring, then I’ll be doing exactly what they want.

      Screw that.

  4. RSM says:

    Facebook users are encouraged to change their profile pics to cartoon characters over the weekend to raise awareness of violence against children:

    It’s a small gesture, but it’s worthwhile. I see Dakinikat picked an anime character for hers. I went with Bugs.

    • Zaladonis says:

      I used Yertle the Turtle and my friends are complaining that I turn everything into social commentary.

      Maybe I should’ve gone with the one I wanted to be as a kid: Speed Racer.

  5. Minkoff Minx says:

    I’ve been looking forward to your post here as a Sky Dancer, and I must say Wonk, you did not disappoint. 😉

  6. Outis says:

    This was an excellent post and thank you so much for keeping us abreast of what our SoS is doing. Chokes me up every time.

    • Outis says:

      Oh and on the Angelina Jolie front, I’m not really a fan of actors and their vanity projects, but I looked at the picture and instantly knew this movie was in trouble: no director’s hair should look that good on set. She should look haggard and miserable like the rest of us.

      But it does sound like this project is misguided and out of touch. It truly is too bad she didn’t speak with camp survivors to tell a genuine story. More bubblism.

      • paper doll says:

        : no director’s hair should look that good on set. She should look haggard and miserable like the rest of us.

        good point! lol! ….I kept thinking of the movie Pretty Woman in regards to this …which was about a prostitute of course, but instead of looking at that sort of life…it’s turned into a love story and fantasy that makes it all alright . This sound like the same thing… in that you have victims of a rape campaign during war …but a love story makes it all alright… I believe the Pretty Woman project started out alot gritter..but the H.wood gloss was applied and of course it was hugely popular. It reminds to be seen how this movie is …but I can’t imagine doing it without talking to these woman…even if you just looked at it as a means to better the movie.

        • From the Silverstein piece:

          The latest twist is that Bosnian rape victims group The Women Victims of War have called for a meeting with Jolie to iron out issues about the film. They are very upset about the fact that the film could have (nobody really knows) a woman fall in love with her rapist. The group said that they were “deeply concerned” about the film. Then they went even further and called her “ignorant” and are asking the UN to remove her as an ambassador.

          I’m really surprised that things have gotten this bad. Where are the publicists? Why haven’t these women seen a script to allay their fears? Maybe their fears can’t be allayed. A meeting was supposed to be arranged between the group and Jolie in Hungary where she is filming but the group refused to go wanting her to come to Bosnia. I think that goes a bit far. Jolie already was basically told not to show up and now they want her to walk in their for a meeting? Really?

          I don’t dismiss the women’s claims at all, they are looking to have a voice about an important situation that has been virtually forgotten in the intervening decade but calling for the UN to strip Jolie’s status as a representative on UNHCR makes no logical sense.

          Someone’s got to intervene and soon cause this might be one situation where the old adage all publicity is good publicity might not be true.

          • Sima says:

            Isn’t Silverstein actually dismissing the women’s concerns even though claiming not to? I can’t imagine any way, unless the heroine fakes ‘love’ in order to murder all the raping bastards and therefore remains in control of her situation as much as possible, that this movie won’t dismiss and belittle the experiences of those who actually suffered. Even if the movie has a ‘sad’ ending (I have no idea if it does). Even if it has twists and turns in the plot to make falling in love with a rapist ‘acceptable’ and get the audience to willingly suspend their disbelief.

            I don’t follow Jolie’s exploits or the news about her. I could care less really, but I do wonder, what experience does she have in writing? How deep could the writing of the movie be?

        • RSM says:

          Pretty Woman was originally supposed to star Jennifer Jason Leigh. I gather the original script was very gritty and dark. Then Happy Days creator Garry Marshall signed on to direct. Leigh was appalled at the rewrites he was ordering and quit. I think she said that he couldn’t understand why a hooker might be unhappy and depressed.

          • RSM says:

            Leigh on Garry Marshall:

            He actually said something so hysterical to me about the character. He said: ‘She’s only been doing this a few weeks, so it’s still a lot of fun for her.’ Yeah, it’s a lot of fun getting into a car with a 68-year-old and giving him a blow job. Really exciting.


          • Outis says:

            So damned typical.

            When they ask how politicians can be so out of touch, I just think of the Hollywood execs I work with. It’s freaking scaaaaaaaary. They’re not even human beings any more.

          • Just jumping in here to say thanks all for the good chat. I’m holding back a bit because I’d like to do a separate post expanding on my thoughts about Jolie’s film–I think if I elaborated in there on that other movie I mentioned (Pinjar), that might add some interesting context here. I really need to rewatch Pinjar first, though.

          • dakinikat says:

            I’m going to have to find a place to rent Pinjar.

          • Minkoff Minx says:

            A bit OT, but has anyone seen Black Swan? It looks intriguing to me.

            I remember that quote from Jennifer Jason Leigh…too true! Not all the Johns in Hollywood are Hugh Grant.

  7. dakinikat says:

    Wonk, I’m so glad your posting here now!!!! This is great!!!

  8. dakinikat says:

    Oh, just I note to every one who is interested in our recipe sharing threads. I’m searching through my old tin recipe box for the Japanese housewife recipes I got from my mother in law years ago ! So, I thought we’d do family ethnic foods tonight if any of you have any thing to share!!! I’m hoping some of those of you from India and the middle east will share for sure!!! (hint hint) and I’m always up for Italian and French Fare too!! Russian, whatever!!!

    That’ll be later tonight!!

  9. NW Luna says:

    Great roundup. I love that quote from Hillary on what inspires her.

    • Thanks NW… isn’t that quote a piece of shero heaven?

      That’s the great thing about Hillary for me. Even on issues or nuances where I disagree with her, even our disagreements seem to be coming from a shared interest in putting people-over-profit. Silly me, I thought the Democratic party was supposed to be guided by the same principle as well.

  10. newdealdem1 says:

    I’ve been a HRC gal for a very long time. Lucky enough to have voted for her multiple times and every time I came out of that booth very happy especially since she has had some of the most obnoxious and unqualified opponents around (yes, even when she ran for the Senate: remember Lazio and then Jennene Pirro? to say nothing of Mr. Manchurian candidate).

    I’ve followed her career for almost twenty years now and it’s always been a high blood pressure experience because what she went through in the Primaries was just a more concentrated version of what she has had thrown at her since I can remember.

    I want more than anything for HRC to be POTUS now. I want more than anything for HRC to run again. But, if she doesn’t, I will wish her the best of whatever she decides to do going forward and will support her as fully as I’ve done so in the past. If she does decide to not run again and the SOS is her last public way to serve the people, I cannot blame her after all the shite she has been through she deserves to be free of what would surely be once again a dip in the misogyny dung