Saturday: a time for prayersPosted: February 5, 2011 Filed under: Egypt, Hillary Clinton: Her Campaign for All of Us, morning reads | Tags: 2011: days of revolt, Binayak and Ilina Sen, Cinematherapy, feminism, Gayatri, gender politics, HCR lawsuits, Indonesia, Mental health, Mideast, Women and Girls 66 Comments
Photo: A wounded antigovernment protester joined fellow demonstraters for Friday prayer at Tahrir square in Cairo. Tens of thousands of Egyptians gathered for sweeping “Day of Departure” demonstrations to try to force President Hosni Mubarak to quit. (Mohammed Abed/AFP-Getty)
Good morning, news junkies!
So the story this week is still Egypt, and I thought I’d start off with a first-person account that Bloomberg ran yesterday from reporter Maram Mazen:
A policeman looked me in the eye and said: “You will be lynched today,” running his finger across his neck.
But, that wasn’t Mazen’s most frightening moment on Thursday in Cairo. Click over to find out what it was.
Next up, a youtube of the protesters in Tahrir square breaking into song yesterday, led by a guitarist off-camera, amidst cries for Mubarak’s immediate exit during Friday’s ‘Day of Departure’ demonstrations. It’s almost at a 100,000 views already. Please go give it another. It’s just plain enjoyable music too. Rough translation of what they’re singing, from the comments:
Let’s make Mubarak hear our voices. We all, one hand, requested one thing, leave leave leave … Down Down Hosni Mubarak, Down Down Hosni Mubarak … The people want to dismantle the regime …. He is to go, we are not going … He is to go, we won’t leave … We all, one hand, ask one thing, leave leave.
Photo: Iranian women participated in Friday prayer outside Tehran University (Behrouz Mehri/AFP-Getty)
Here’s the latest word from Secretary Clinton on Egypt, speaking at a Munich security conference this Saturday — Hillary characterizes the unrest that the Mideast is facing as a “perfect storm of powerful trends” and says:
This is what has driven demonstrators into the streets of Tunis, Cairo, and cities throughout the region. The status quo is simply not sustainable.
Al Jazeera English also reports that she said there must be clear progress toward “open, transparent, fair and accountable systems” across the region not to risk even greater instability.
While we’re on the Middle East, did you hear? Rand Paul wants to end “welfare to Israel.” Hey, don’t shoot, I’m just relaying the news here. And, before anyone on the other side of that issue goes goo goo over Paul following in his father’s isolationist footsteps, remember the libertarian catch that it comes with–Paul is also calling for dramatic education cuts.
There’s an interesting blog piece on Egypt, Obama, and Indonesia at the New Statesman that I’m still thinking on, but I thought I’d put it out there for Saturday reading. I have to say, I have yet to see any indication that Obama has much of a plan when it comes to Egypt. The deer-in-the-headlights look coming from this White House has been hard to miss.
This next item didn’t seem to generate much buzz, but I thought I’d put it in here and get your reactions… a Mississippi federal judge threw out a challenge to HCR on Thursday.
Here’s a story I’d been meaning to cover last week but didn’t get to, and there’s an update on it this weekend too. You may or may not know but Indian human rights activist Dr. Binayak Sen is facing life imprisonment. Here is the report Democracy Now’s Anjali Kamat filed from Chhattisgarh in advance of the global day of protest calling for Binayak’s release last Sunday. And, here is the update on Binayak’s wife, Ilina Sen, who has been under a witchhunt by the Maharasthra Police. An FIR against her has been reportedly thrown out:
Illina was named as an accused for her alleged failure to inform the police of the participation of foreign delegates at a conference of the Indian Association for Woman Studies ( IAWS) in Wardha.
Illina, who had termed the FIR an vindictive act of the state, told Mail Today on Thursday that she was unaware of the development. ” But if it is happening, it is a welcome step,” she said.
” The home ministry has intervened in the matterâ€¦ Illina’s name will be dropped from the FIR,” a government source said.
Looks like a bit of good news we can hang our hats on as the rest of the world spins out of control. Speaking of women’s studies…
This Saturday in Women’s and Children’s Health headlines
BYU School of Family Life researchers Sarah Coyne and Laura Padilla-Walker find that teen girls who play video games with their parents are less depressed (Truthdig), as part of the Flourishing Families project that began in 2007. Here’s the pdf to the actual study published in the Journal of Adolescent Health this month for anyone who is interested. According to Coyne, et al. (2011), for girls there is a link between playing age-appropriate games with parents and lowered internalizing (anxiety/depression) and aggression. There is no correlation for boys, and further studies are still needed to determine causality and long term effects for girls. Two years ago, the larger study that this research is a part of found a link between frequent gaming and relationship difficulties. This summer the project led to research that found having a sister may counter depression. Let’s hear it for sisterhood! Which brings me to…
Cinematherapy…in Feminist Perspective
A great op-ed last week on Jennifer Siebel Newsom’s documentary Missrepresentation, by Ashley Chappo in The Cavalier Daily — “Showgirls.” Here’s a teaser of Chappo’s piece:
As the American activist Marian Wright Edelman once said, “You can’t be what you can’t see.” Our national misconceptions about the value of women have contributed to the fact that the United States currently ranks 90th world-wide when it comes to women’s representation in politics. This year, Newsom’s documentary is a must-see because it challenges all Americans to reconsider their values and confront institutions that perpetuated inferior images of female capability.
Another film featured last month at the Sundance festival that you might want to take a look at is Lynn Hershmann’s !Women Art Revolution. Also, if you have a chance, check out: “Global Girls Go Sundance.”
This last one is really a review of a review of a book, but I’m sticking it here because it goes with feminist reads. Historiann: “Rebecca Traister on Stephanie Coontz’s A Strange Stirring.”
This day in history (February 5)
1871: Mary Sewall Garnder, pioneer of public health nursing, was born.
(If you click on Mary’s name, the link will take you to more women’s history trivia for February 5th.)
With all the upheaval going on in the world these days, I thought I’d share the Gayatri mantra before I go… I grew up on it, and though I’m agnostic and don’t believe in a “creator god,” this one stuck for me, perhaps because Gayatri is a girl goddess and the prayer is about asking her to dispel the darkness of ignorance. I like this translation:
Om Bhur Bhuva Swaha
Tat Savitur Varenyam
Bhargo Devasya Dheemahi
Dhiyo Yo Nah Prachodayat
Mother who subsists as all three Kalas, in all three Lokas, and all three Gunas, I pray to you to illuminate my intellect and dispel my ignorance, just as the splendorous sunlight dispels all darkness. I pray to you to make my intellect serene and bright.
And, to make this roundup even more cross-cultural…
La fin and merci beaucoup if you made it to the end. Let’s hear what you’re reading this Saturday in the comments.
[originally posted at Let Them Listen; crossposted at Taylor Marsh and Liberal Rapture]
Saturday: Roe turns 38!Posted: January 22, 2011 Filed under: morning reads | Tags: Abu Dhabi, Cinematherapy, Clarina Howard Nichols, Female education and literacy, feminism, Gabrielle Giffords, gender politics, Globetrotting with Hillary, Kalam Nawaem, No Profit Left Behind, Roe v. Wade, Stupakistan, What Would Alice Paul Do 27 Comments
Thirty-eight years ago today the Supremes handed down Roe v. Wade.
It’s instructive to go further back and note that from the outset, the history of criminalizing abortion in the US has been rooted in a culture not of life but rather of No Profit Left Behind (via the history.com link above): “Abortion itself only became a serious criminal offense in the period between 1860 and 1880. And the criminalization of abortion did not result from moral outrage. The roots of the new law came from the newly established physicians’ trade organization, the American Medical Association. Doctors decided that abortion practitioners were unwanted competition and went about eliminating that competition. The Catholic Church, which had long accepted terminating pregnancies before quickening, joined the doctors in condemning the practice.”
In addition to keeping score, I always keep in mind a Bill Clinton interview that went under the radar in 2009: “With all the fights in the world about abortion rights and choice and family planning and all that there is only one proven strategy that is not opposed by religious authorities—except some fanatics and cultural authorities—that slows the birthrate and raises per capita income. The only proven strategy is to put all the girls in the world in school.”
On that note, let’s get this roundup started.
Hillaryland: When Hillary was in the Persian Gulf last week, she taped an interview with Kalam Nawaem–the Abu Dhabi version of The View. The UPI newswire ran the following headline after the show aired on Sunday: “Clinton calls women’s progress inevitable.” Here’s a full state.gov transcript.
I’ve gathered some clips, but I don’t want to bog down the rest of this roundup, so I’ll post the video treats in the comments. My favorite moment for now (hard to pick just one!):
“MODERATOR: That’s very interesting, Madam Secretary, and yet the Western media often depicts the Arab woman as oppressed, as having basically no human rights, as being uneducated. Why and how can we solve this problem? SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I think it comes from a lack of awareness or understanding that needs to be slowly but surely changed. And there – it’s one of the reasons why I very much appreciate the chance to do a program like this, because I have a lot of the American press with me and they look at the three of you, and maybe that breaks down some stereotypes. Maybe that begins to create what I know to be a much more comprehensive and complex view of women’s roles in this part of the world or in many parts of the world.”
Hillary understands that to lift up the world we have to not only lift up women and girls but that to truly lift up anyone we can’t parade around caricatures of helpless little women–we have to support each other in being our own best advocates and lifting ourselves up. Her approach is a stark contrast to the right-wing paternalism which seeks to selectively “champion” damsels in distress, for reasons other than empowering women.
Feminism–fiction vs. fact: Speaking of rightwingers who couldn’t care less about women or their rights, about a month ago, Real Clear Politics featured a video called “Feminism explained.” I wouldn’t advise clicking on it unless you’re a fan of annoying xtranormal animations and enjoy hearing a laundry list of every canard that’s already been thrown at a feminist. Deadbeat women’s orgs have made it all too easy for con-artists to skewer feminists in this fashion.
Fiction: Feminists don’t care about women! Fact: NOW, NARAL, and Planned Parenthood do not represent feminism or feminists but instead have become mere fundraising arms of the Democratic party, which itself is one of America’s two corporate arms (the GOP being the other)–a set of distinctions that the vast-right wing idiocy avoids making for obvious reasons.
Organizational otiosus? Once upon a time, NOW et al. helped get the fire started. Then they retired from the lowly world we inhabit only to drop back in sporadically and pass around the collection plate or remind us to tithe. (Perhaps the problem with NOW et al. is the more generalized conundrum of institutionalizing anything.)
From “ew, a feminazi!” to the C-Street takeover of feminism: For years, blowhards on the right have been capitalizing on the disconnect between the self-designated gatekeepers of feminism and the grassroot everyday feminists, turning feminism into the enemy. But, now conservative women are taking the opportunism one step further, trying to turn feminism into something it’s not (as dakinikat put it “Why oh why do people think they get to make up their own definitions?“).
What Would Alice Paul Do? As much as I think the right’s perversion of feminism deserves pushback, that chart I put up back in August still irks. The root of the problem is right there next to the Democratic position on “Right to Choose” — it’s that question mark next to “Support.”
Case-in-point: The introduction of the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act this Thursday– or rather the *return* of Smith-Lipinski, as madamb presciently wrote about back in August. Wonk Room at ThinkProgress has an aptly titled response: “Forget Jobs And Economy, GOP To Introduce Government-Expanding Abortion Measure As H.R. 3.” The problem with pinning this solely on the GOP, though, is that doing so omits everything the so-called Party of Women did to create the environment in which the GOP could even dare to push Stupakistan-Act IV in the middle of a persistent unemployment crisis.
Act I: Then-Speaker Pelosi cut a deal allowing Stupak-Pitts to be brought to a vote to secure the passage
of a deeply flawed piece of healthcare legislation. Act II: President Obama ordered a “model set of segregation guidelines on women’s health.” Act III: Soon enough, mini-Stupaks erupted across the country (that’s a pdf link).
Not looking forward to Act V.
Of regressive progressives: Switching gears to discuss the Steve Cohen trainwreck briefly. I would simply like to remind everyone that Cohen was the creep who in May of 2008 used the movie Fatal Attraction as an analogy for Hillary’s primary campaign, saying “Glenn Close should have just stayed in the tub.”
A hometown update on Gabrielle Giffords: Gabby arrived here in Houston safe and sound! Video report of her doctors reacting, calling the transition “flawless,” by the Houston Chronicle. The chron’s Medical Center reporter Todd Ackerman has been doing some excellent work covering the TIRR facility over the past few days. Ackerman’s latest: “Houston rehab giant ready for Giffords.” I’ll put more in the comments for anyone who’s interested in local media reporting.
Bookworm: A recent piece in the Brattleboro Reformer takes a look at a new book about frontier feminist Clarina Nichols. Compare the present-day inanity of a bear growling at the end of a faux pioneer woman marketing ploy to the following:
Kathleen Sebelius: “Clarina Nichols was a single mother, abolitionist, women’s rights advocate and visionary, whose work paved the way for women to eventually become full citizens of the United States.” History of Woman Suffrage (published in 1887): “No woman in so many fields of action has more steadily and faithfully labored than Mrs. Nichols, as editor, speaker, teacher, farmer…” Here’s a woman whose “knowledge of the legal system would distinguish her in the women’s rights movement, leading one of its founders to observe that Clarina Nichols was ‘as conversant with the laws of her state as any judge or lawyer in it” (Revolutionary Heart, Eickhoff 2006).
Grizzlyfolk won’t learn any of that history by palling around with Glenn Beckistan, ahem.
Cinematherapy: First a tidbit about 20-year old Kristen Stewart of Twilight fame, from her interview in February’s Vogue (via yahoo) — “As it turns out, Kristen does have a plan for her newfound fortune (or at least, part of it) – she wants to set up a network of halfway houses to help those who are struggling get back on their feet – a cause Kristen saw first-hand while researching for a role as a runaway from a sex slave trafficking ring, according to Vogue. ‘That would be amazing,’ she continued. ‘Right now it’s the thing I feel most connected to.'”
Now for my movie pick: The Cake Eaters, a 2007 indie that Kirsten Stewart filmed before she became the epicenter of the campy Twilight series. Stewart’s rising star has helped the Cake Eaters find a wider audience as a little-indie-that-could. From the writer of the film who also starred as part of the ensemble cast: “The Cake Eaters is a term I grew up with in Pennsylvania. My mom used to use it to describe those who had it made, had their lives mapped out for them, where the most likely to succeed…’The Cake Eaters.’ I thought it was an interesting metaphor for this group of misfits who begin the story searching and longing for love, trying to overcome grief, and through the course of the story…find their ‘cake’. They find some love, happiness, peace… The title gets a lot of questions, it’s pretty controversial…and unforgettable.”
Oh, and this just breaking as I try to wrap up: Keith-O and MSNBC are O-V-E-R! (I can’t resist… MSNBC and Keith went into a room, and… Countdown got canceled.)
Dhanyavad for reading, and tag, you’re it! What headlines are you following this Saturday?
Originally published by Wonk the Vote at Let Them Listen. Crossposted at Liberal Rapture and Taylor Marsh.
Saturday Reads: the Mona Lisa and War on Poverty editionPosted: January 8, 2011 Filed under: morning reads | Tags: Cinematherapy, Femicide, Gulf Oil Kill, Hillary Clinton, Hossein Vahedi, Invisible Americans, Mona Lisa, School Shooting, Suicide, War on Poverty, Wikileaks 25 Comments
Good morning, news junkies! My Saturday offerings, hot off the presses…
On this day, January 8th, in 1962, the Mona Lisa was exhibited in Washington, marking the first time it was shown in America. From the link, which goes to the History Channel website: “Lady Jacqueline Kennedy and Andre Malraux, the French minister of culture, arranged the loan of the painting from the Louvre Museum in Paris to the United States.”
You may have caught the following story on the Mona Lisa from December, but in case you didn’t… From Tom Kington in the Guardian: “Mona Lisa’s eyes may reveal model’s identity, expert claims… Silvano Vinceti claims initials – possibly the model’s – are discernible in the left eye of the iconic Da Vinci painting.” Stephen Bayley wrote a piece in the UK Telegraph on this story as well called, “Mona Lisa: Leonardo was a genius, let’s leave it at that.“
Another piece of historical trivia for January 8th… In 1964, LBJ declared a “War on Poverty” in the US. (Link takes you to an essay hosted on blackpast.org.)
Who has taken up the call to fight the war on poverty today? Hillary spoke of and to “invisible” Americans when she ran in 2008, but the powers-that-be railroaded her and kept her powerful voice off the domestic stage. John Edwards tainted his “Two Americas” rhetoric on poverty with his “narcissism,” as he himself characterized it. Elizabeth Edwards, who was the genuine advocate for the least of these in that power couple, is no longer with us, though she left behind a body of thoughtful writings and interviews to guide us, much in the way she wrote a journal to her children. The other Liz–Elizabeth Warren–is fighting for us, but her hands appear to be tied.
Every day of this Administration that President Obama fails to govern for the people who elected him, he instead tries to win the approval of the corporations who will never openly adore him enough for all his efforts… because nothing he does for them will ever be enough. More and more, his former supporters are coming to realize that they endorsed an empty suit in 2008, which brings me to my first newsy item. From today’s NY Times: “Obama the Centrist Irks a Liberal Lion… ‘By freezing federal salaries, by talking about deficits, by extending the Bush tax cuts, he’s legitimizing a Republican narrative,’ Mr. Reich says. ‘Why won’t he tell the alternative story? For three decades we’ve cut taxes on the wealthy while real wages stood still.'”
I’ll answer Reich’s question with a question. When will the left understand that Obama fears and thus respects the Republican narrative and does not do the same when it comes to the liberal narrative? The so-called “caving” to Republicans is by design.
Bob Herbert has some good stuff covering the same ground today; I had a hunch he would: “Misery With Plenty of Company…Consider the extremes. President Obama is redesigning his administration to make it even friendlier toward big business and the megabanks, which is to say the rich, who flourish no matter what is going on with the economy in this country. (They flourish even when they’re hard at work destroying the economy.) Meanwhile, we hear not a word — not so much as a peep — about the poor, whose ranks are spreading like a wildfire in a drought.”
Indeed, but I’ll get off my rantbox for now. Here are some other headlines that struck a chord with me throughout the week…