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Archive for May, 2011

After Hillary Clinton left Pakistan yesterday,  images popped up on her Daylife site that were more than disturbing.  They attest to why this particular trip was more dangerous than usual for our intrepid, outspoken Mme. Secretary, who, of course, has been to Pakistan before, but  that was before we tracked down and killed Osama Bin Laden.

We are drawing near the six-month anniversary of the series of uprisings in the Arab world known as the Arab Spring.  Americans may be inured to images of protest in the Arab world,  but these Pakistani photos are very different from those we have seen out of the countries where the goal of the protests was democratic participation in government.  I think the contrasts are obvious.

Here are some photos from Pakistan yesterday,  dramatically different beginning with the absence of women and girls, the joyousness.  These Pakistani men are angry and hateful.  They are not demanding a voice.  The voiceless ones, the women, are absent from this.  The anger is not against a longtime dictator.  It is against us and our chief representative there, Hillary Clinton.  I credit our Head Homegirl with high marks for her courage and steadfastness in the face of opposition.  Thank you, Secretary Clinton for your valor.   Your Homegirls and Homeboys love you and have your back!

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After a week plus of news littered with sexual misbehavior of prominent and powerful members of the male of the species, refreshing news arises regarding a possible replacement for Dominique Strauss-Kahn,  the disgraced former director of the IMF,  in the person of Christine Lagarde.

WINS NY reported earlier in the week that she received high marks from U.S.  Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner .  His colleague, and our Head Homegirl,  Hillary Rodham Clinton,  accorded Lagarde’s candidacy her enthusiastic support.  It should be noted that neither is is a position to endorse officially.

Hillary Clinton welcomes Christine Lagarde’s IMF candidacy

“As you know, the time frame for candidates to be put forward has a few more weeks to run, so officially the US will be assessing and then eventually announcing its position,” Ms Clinton said at a news conference in Paris yesterday. “Unofficially, let me say we welcome women who are well qualified and experienced to head major organisations.”

Read the article>>>>

This caps off a week of prime time news that read more like a tabloid with former Senator and Vice Presidential candidate John Edwards facing indictment for misuse of campaign funds to pay his mistress, and former California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger admitting an affair and an illegitimate child all on the heels of  allegations that Strauss-Kahn molested a hotel employee at a NY hotel where he was staying.

During the same week,  Hillary Clinton delivered an address at UNESCO about the value of educating women and girls,   Video: Secretary Clinton’s Remarks at UNESCO Global Partnership for Girls’ and Women’s Education, and another at OECD on development and gender,  Secretary Clinton’s Remarks at the OECD Session on Development and Gender.

Is it high time for women to take the lead in global economic development?  Yes!  Lagarde is eminently qualified to lead the IMF.  We, as a nation,  should support her candidacy as evidently the Europeans do.

Europeans consider Lagarde’s IMF job ‘a done deal’

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The look on this little girl’s face is haunting. It should be. These “weddings” may be   “customary,”  but that does not imply that the tradition should be protected.  This is not a cultural practice that should be relegated to global diversity. It combines two of the most heinous practices among humans: slavery and rape.

Faiz Mohammed, 40, and Ghulam Haider, 11, sit in her family’s home prior to their wedding in the rural village of Damarda, Afghanistan, on Sept. 11, 2005. Ghulam said she is sad to be getting engaged as she wanted to be a teacher. Her favorite class was Dari, the local language, before she was made to drop out of school.

It breaks my heart because when I was 11, I already knew I was meant to be a teacher.  I had the opportunity to fulfill that.  Secretary Clinton’s mission is for every child to have the chance to live up to her/his God-given potential.  It does not appear that this little girl will have that privilege.

Read the story in today’s Foreign Policy.  The Young and the Betrothed..

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Reasoned debate over policy is palatable.   I just saw Condoleeza Rice on 360 with Anderson Cooper.  I often disagreed with her administration’s foreign policy, but she is reasonable, and I do not always disagree with her.  I respect her knowledge, intelligence and restraint.  We sit on different sides of the table, but I find her admirable.

Clearly Ann Coulter does not share my willingness to view a woman “on the other side,”  as it were, with any kind of objective depth of assessment at all.  On the contrary. She attacks 9/11 widows like a dragon, and her latest target is our Head Homegirl, not for any particular policy position, not even for anything she has said, but for her ankles.  Yes, you read that right.  Her ankles!  (Seen here  – well, one of them, anyway –   in a photo from Sunday, May 1, 2011.  It was taken in the White House, presumably after Operation  Neptune Spear succeeded.)

First a disclaimer,  I happen to think Hillary Clinton is beautiful. Her ankles are part of her, and I think they are pretty.  Remember when “Cinderella”   lost her slipper on the steps of the Elysee Palace?  Whatever ankle is above that foot cannot possibly be as offensive as Coulter implies.  (Anyway, we were all looking at the Jimmy Choo’s or whatever they were,  with severe shoe-envy).

That said, here is my beef.  Sexism, like racism, is an equal opportunity offender.  Some of the sexism directed at our Head Homegirl during the primaries of 2008 and even before that (Robin Givhan and her “Cleavagegate”) came from women.  Men were excoriated for it, but women participated as well.  In this particular case, a woman generates it which is exponentially more offensive than going along with it.

Now I could take the shallow route here as I have been known to do with Coulter.  I am slender, but she looks hungry.  When I was a growing pre-teen and got crabby,  my mom used to tell me I was out of sorts because I was hungry (usually true).  I could say that someone needs to take Coulter to Blimpie’s, and maybe she will calm down.  But it is more than that.

Sexism is a virus hidden deep within our culture.  Viruses are tricky creatures.  They dig deep into the soil and hide for centuries.  AIDS  is thought to be a resurgence of something buried for  many centuries and freed by deforestation.  We are enculturated with the sexism virus.   We gain resistance if we are raised by parents who inoculate us by their guidance.  But in today’s society, we also know via research, the deleterious effects of sexism on communities.  Coulter, purportedly educated,  should know this.

So,  Ann Coulter,  you have crossed the line.  If you have a problem with Hillary Clinton’s policies, by all means voice them (try to eat a sandwich before you do).   But if you are going to make a remark about a body part, be warned, skeletal is not a look to be envied, either.  Women have curves.  Hillary does, and she is beautiful.  Furthermore,  I do not hear anybody making remarks about his ankles.

I would argue that they must be at least three or four times times the circumference of the ankles on our pretty Head Homegirl, and it seems that nobody cares!

Homegirls and Homeboys, the offending comment can be found here.

Ann Coulter on the Bin Laden Photo: “If Americans Can Handle Hillary Clinton’s Ankles, They Can Handle This Photo”

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One of the reasons why, unlike some of my friends, I did not de-register from the Democratic Party after the 2008 spectacle/debacle,  is because once in awhile they actually contact me to ask for something besides money.  (Another reason is because the Clintons are both still Democrats, and I like being in their party.)  Yesterday, Patrick Gaspard sent me a question and a questionnaire.  Being a responsible Democrat, I responded to both.

Here is my response to the question:

April 30, 2011 email question:

What should democrats be doing to prepare for 2012?

The Democratic Party should wake up and realize that Barack Obama campaigned on rhetoric, built a coalition that has fallen apart and, like Humpty Dumpty, cannot be put back together again, not with all the king’s horses and all the king’s men.

In forcing Barack Obama on us, the party managed to fracture itself. It shot itself in the foot. His approval ratings are low for a good reason: He fails to act. He folds to the GOP. He hesitates. This is not leadership. This is weakness.

Hillary Clinton is a strong leader, and the DNC failed to give her a fighting chance in Denver. Right now, she is the only one who exhibits the kind of leadership this party needs and the country needs.

It is time to stop making this campaign about re-electing a feeble candidate. It is time to be realistic and make the campaign about doing the right thing for America. The RIGHT thing: Put Hillary Clinton on the ballot. Get on your knees and beg her to run. Give Obama his walking papers, and pray that Hillary Clinton says yes. I know she will… for her country.

The questionnaire is a typical survey, but there are places to write text.  It looks like this:

Survey
How do you feel about the work the Democratic Party is doing now?:1 Extremely Negative
2
3
4
5 Extremely Positive
How do you feel about the work the Democratic Party has done in the past?:1 Extremely Negative
2
3
4
5 Extremely Positive
How important would you rate the following issues?
Job creation and strengthening the economy:1 Least Important
2
3
4
5 Most Important
Health insurance reform:1 Least Important
2
3
4
5 Most Important
Clean energy:1 Least Important
2
3
4
5 Most Important
Education reform:1 Least Important
2
3
4
5 Most Important
Wall Street reform:1 Least Important
2
3
4
5 Most Important
Immigration reform1 Least Important
2
3
4
5 Most Important
Which issue is the most important to you?:
If “Other”, please tell us which issue is most important to you:
How would you rate the quality of the Democratic Party website (www.democrats.org)?:1 Very low quality
2
3
4
5 Very high quality
Do you know or work with your local Democratic Party?:Yes
No
How likely are you to participate in the Democratic Party’s next online activity (letter to the editor, online petition) on an issue that’s important to you?:1 Very unlikely
2
3
4
5 Very likely
Do you identify yourself with any of the following groups? (Check all that apply):

  African Americans
Americans Abroad
Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders
Business Owners/Entrepreneurs
Environmentalists
Healthcare Professionals
Labor
Latinos/Hispanics
  LGBT
Native Americans
People of Faith
People with Disabilities
Seniors
Students
Veterans
Young Professionals
How would you categorize yourself politically?:
Are you a fan of the Democratic Party on Facebook?:Yes
No, but I use Facebook
I don’t use Facebook
Do you follow the Democratic Party on Twitter?:Yes
No, but I use Twitter
I don’t use Twitter
How would you describe the current political climate? (Optional):
What do you believe the Democratic Party stands for? (Optional):
Why are you a Democrat? (Optional):

Here is how I answered the optional questions:

Which issue is the most important to you?:   (There is a drop-down menu with choices.  I chose “other.”)
If “Other”, please tell us which issue is most important to you:

Choosing the right leader to take the party in the right direction. That would be Hillary Rodham Clinton whom the party kicked to the curb in 2008. We need a real leader, not a hesitant, weak, do-nothing. All Obama does is talk. Hillary acts. I am sick of this gutless, self-centered weakling. Many thousands of Democrats, former Democrats, and Independents agree with me. His coalition is gone. He cannot be re-elected. It is time for the party to wake up to that. I did not vote for him, and I will not. I will write in Hillary Clinton’s name, if I have to.

How would you describe the current political climate? (Optional):

Very dangerous for the middle class and the poor. The Democratic Party used to stand for those groups, but,  under Obama’s leadership (if you can call his paralysis in the face of every crisis leadership),  these groups are hurting.  He simply folds to the GOP every time. ENOUGH! Get Hillary Rodham Clinton on the ticket. She is decisive, strong, and smart. Her heart is with the people.

What do you believe the Democratic Party stands for? (Optional):

Right now? There is nothing democratic about the way Barack Obama became the nominee and plenty of us are angry about that. The party stands for manipulation, caucus fraud, sexism, and disenfranchisement.
Why are you a Democrat? (Optional):

Why am I STILL a Democrat? After what I saw in the last general election?  To continue to receive questionnaires like this from you. I want my party back! The Democratic Party I grew up with did not tolerate thuggery. Primaries were civilized. Roll call votes on the convention floor were genuine,  and a candidate would emerge after several ballots. Hillary Clinton and her delegates (for whom we voted) were not given a fair vote. I want my party back!

Unfortunately, there was no way to put my poster on their survey. 😦

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