Good evening everyone, I do hope that you are staying cool today. Wow, the heat is oppressive. And if you are staying cool, good for you…because my blood is boiling. (And I don’t think I am the only one here at Sky Dancing that feels this way.) Dakinikat has a post up that you need to read:
Alright, there is some possible news out of New Hampshire this evening. New Hampshire Executive Council May Reconsider Planned Parenthood Defunding | RH Reality Check
The New Hampshire executive council must have gotten a lot of blowback on their comments that women who want to “have a good time” should have to “pay for it.” It appears that they may be reversing their decision to cut off a contract with the state’s Planned Parenthood organization — a contract that was the sole sore of free or subsidized birth control for many women in the state.
Blog for Choice reports:The Executive Council will meet again tomorrow, and could reconsider its vote to defund Planned Parenthood. If you live in New Hampshire, take action through our affiliate.And not a moment too soon: Nick Toumpas, New Hampshire’s commissioner of health and human services, said that cuts to family-planning funding put the state at risk of losing federal dollars.So tomorrow will be a test of how far these politicians want to take their attacks on women’s health care.
Oh, I certainly hope these PLUBs get the message and change their minds. I mean don’t we all deserve to have a “good time?” /Snark
You might get a snicker out of this next link. VIDEO: MoJo Presses Bachmann on Gay Therapy Stories | Mother Jones
Bachmann, who touts her ownership of this small business in her stump speech, has not been keen on answering questions about what Bachmann & Associates actually does. The congresswoman declined to comment to The Nation; her presidential campaign, though, did issue a statement to ABC News: “Those matters are protected by patient-client confidentiality. The Bachmanns are in no position ethically, legally, or morally to discuss specific courses of treatment concerning the clinic’s patients.” Though it would breach a patient’s privacy rights for the Bachmanns to discuss treatment provided to a specific person, they are certainly free to talk generally about their methods and services. Pressed by a local ABC affiliate at a Monday campaign stop in Iowa, Bachmann dodged the subject, saying, “We’re very proud of our business and we’re proud of all job creators in the United States. That’s what people really care about.”
Today, I encountered Bachmann near MoJo‘s bureau in downtown DC. She was having lunch with an aide in a sandwich shop. After they departed the restaurant, I asked if she would respond to these recent reports. She said nothing—not a word—and would not even look in my direction. She kept walking at a brisk pace. I repeated the question a few times, as her aide tried to prevent me from getting too close to the congresswoman. The aide noted repeatedly that Bachmann was not taking questions. At no time did Bachmann break her stride.
There is video of the Olympic Sprint that Bachmann made while evading the questions at that MoJo link up top, if you care to see it.
Moving on, this post over at Reality Check jumped out at me today, especially with the recent New Hampshire Men’s Club decision to screw poor women out of birth control and antibiotics. Michelle Obama and Betty Ford: How One Used Her Power and the Other Still Could | RH Reality Check
Remember Eleanor Roosevelt, please.
She could have been bland, and, consequently, “broadly liked,” but she wasn’t. Instead, Roosevelt understood the needs of her times, and the power of the First Lady’s bully pulpit, and chose otherwise.
In fact, every First Lady has the opportunity to define the role. Yes, for Betty Ford, there was Pat Nixon, but there was also Eleanor Roosevelt.
Fortunately for the rest of us, Betty Ford chose Eleanor Roosevelt.
As a result of making this choice, today we remember Betty Ford as a political leader of the first American rank: Great political leader, not great First Lady, because she chose, as First Lady, to use her bully pulpit to advocate to make life better for American women, to advocate for nothing less than our equality.
Yes, Betty Ford was fortunate that she was “broadly liked,” notwithstanding her political views, but the fact is that she wouldn’t have done what she did, and said what she said, if she had been worried about being liked. She wasn’t, and so she said what she said, and did what she did, for the rest of us.
And what about the cause that Michelle Obama has championed since becoming First Lady?
Yes, childhood obesity and the plight of military families are significant problems that plague America. But they are not our main problems. The main problem today– in Michelle Obama’s First Lady time– is just the same as it was in Betty Ford’s First Lady time: American’s women’s lack of equal access to opportunity.
Yes, it’s a good thing that Michelle Obama is so widely admired, but she could be so much more, especially for the millions of downtrodden American women, including those who lack adequate reproductive health care and access to abortion. Why can’t she be a political leader of the sort First Lady Betty Ford was? How to think about this on this day when Michelle Obama joins Betty Ford’s family to mourn a First Lady who had American women’s equality and reproductive rights first in her heart, mind and speech all the time?
I think it is because she is disengaged, just like her husband. The mantra of “Do as I say, Not as I do.” is strong with both of the Obamas. To actually take a position on such an important issue as Women’s Rights and Reproductive Health is a cause that’s just too involved for the FLOTUS. Getting chocolate milk out of school lunch rooms is a lot easier than standing up for your fellow American Women and take a strong stance on protecting and fighting for women’s rights.
Oh, and btw…I don’t really care what the Obamas eat or don’t eat, but I do care that one of them is hell-bent on flushing his “party” down the toilet. Where are those real Democrat politicians that actually give a damn about what the Democratic Party stands for?
Anyway, here is a good post from the State Deptartment Blog…U.S. Launches Women in Trade Initiative in Pakistan | U.S. Department of State Blog
Courtney Beale serves as Acting Spokesperson at the U.S. Embassy in Islamabad, Pakistan.
In conjunction with several multinational firms, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) is launching the Women in Trade Initiative in order to increase the participation of Pakistani women in the international trade sector.
“This initiative is part of the United States — commitment to the people of Pakistan to support women’s empowerment,” said Dr. Marilyn Wyatt, wife of U.S. Ambassador Cameron Munter, at the launch of the Women in Trade Initiative. “By raising the role of women in the international trade sector, we can enable them to contribute not only to Pakistan’s economy, but to the overall development of the country.”
Under this initiative, USAID has arranged three-month internships for 17 female university graduates with well-known companies such as TARGET Sourcing Services Pakistan, TEXLYNX, NISHAT Group, and Li & Fung Pakistan. These women will gain skills in sourcing and marketing of products, product development and diversification, and supply chain management.
Let’s see if any of this good work falls through now that relations between the US and Pakistan are becoming even more fragile.
H/T to Susie Madrak for this next one, which she calls the Costanza Principle: New Economic Perspectives: Can Seinfeld Help Obama Start Making Better Policy Decisions?
President Obama, in contrast, seems determined to keep flapping. He thinks:
- Getting our fiscal house in order will create the confidence the business sector needs to start hiring again
- Removing $4 trillion of aggregate demand will help the economy
- The government is ‘out of money’
- We need to raise revenues in order to take care of seniors, poor kids, medical researchers, infrastructure, etc.
- Job training will fuel job growth
- When the private sector tightens its belt, the government should too
- We need to double our exports in order to grow jobs
- We need to appease the ratings agencies and the bond markets or the government won’t be able to raise money and pay its bills
- Entitlement reform will ‘make Social Security stronger’
It’s as if every instinct he has is wrong. So maybe he should start doing the opposite of whatever his gut (or Larry and Timmy) are telling him. The general approach is modeled beautifully here:
Being a Seinfeld fan, I think this is a great idea…because personally…repeating the phrase “Serenity NOW!” is not working.
Perhaps if I try, “Hoochie Mama!”
Here’s some news about Hillary Clinton’s New Gender Agenda as reported last week by the NY Times.
I have to say that Hillary really captured my admiration in 1995 when she gave that powerful speech in Beijing for the United Nations Conference. The only really feminist first lady that I can recall in my life time before Hillary Clinton was Betty Ford. Although I remember reading many many things about Eleanor Roosevelt, she died before I could truly appreciate her. All the other first ladies seemed so demure by comparison! But not Hillary Clinton!
She is our third female Secretary of State. While I appreciate Condi Rice and her brilliance, she was not always arguing positions with which I agreed so I always watched her with a raised eyebrow. I do, however, admire all three of them from Madeline Albright forward. As my Irish Grandmother taught me from her very superstitious nature, the third’s always the charm! Hillary has put women’s issues front and center and I have to say brava for that! There are so many issues facing women in the world these days that it is hard to choose one as a priority. The ones that have grabbed my heart recently are that of the plight of child brides and the girls (and young boys) trafficked for the sex trade. The one I work for is microfinancing for women’s businesses all over the world. (Shameless plug here for The Confluence Lending Team at Kiva.) Here are Hillary’s priorities.
Q: In your confirmation hearing, you said you would put women’s issues at the core of American foreign policy. But as you know, in much of the world, gender equality is not accepted as a universal human right. How do you overcome that deep-seated cultural resistance?
Clinton: You have to recognize how deep-seated it is, but also reach an understanding of how without providing more rights and responsibilities for women, many of the goals we claim to pursue in our foreign policy are either unachievable or much harder to achieve.
Democracy means nothing if half the people can’t vote, or if their vote doesn’t count, or if their literacy rate is so low that the exercise of their vote is in question. Which is why when I travel, I do events with women, I talk about women’s rights, I meet with women activists, I raise women’s concerns with the leaders I’m talking to.
I happen to believe that the transformation of women’s roles is the last great impediment to universal progress — that we have made progress on many other aspects of human nature that used to be discriminatory bars to people’s full participation. But in too many places and too many ways, the oppression of women stands as a stark reminder of how difficult it is to realize people’s full human potential.