Archive for February, 2012

Discourseincsharpminor  mentioned that she was working on a post about Marie Colvin.  I asked her to share it with us when it was completed because,  from what she said,  it seemed that her tribute would share a perspective readers here would appreciate.  I remember this series that Discourse put up last March for Women’s History Month.  Her testimonial to Marie Colvin refers to one of those entries.

The Death of Marie Colvin

23 02 2012

A little less than a year ago I wrote about a number of women whom I admired over the course of March (Women’s History Month). Two days ago, one of them, Marie Colvin was killed in Syria where she was covering the government-mandated slaughter currently taking place there. This is what I wrote about her in 2011. The whole post is here, if you’re interested.

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Thank you so much, Discourse, for sharing your thoughts with us.

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In order to avoid offending  Homegirls and Homeboys here,  I will refrain from posting a picture of the perpetrator.  We all know what she looks like.  Back in 2009, this Op-Ed  was posted on HuffPo quoting  Sarah Palin’s claim that what is now known as “Obamacare” would result in “death panels” that somehow would have decided   ordered that her son Trig should be aborted.

Palin: Obama’s “Death Panel” Could Kill My Down Syndrome Baby

The Huffington Post   First Posted: 09/07/09 06:12 AM ET Updated: 05/25/11 02:50 PM ET

Former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin has laid pretty low since resigning. But on her Facebook page, Palin suggested Friday that President Obama’s health care plan might kill her child.

Via Talking Points Memo:

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I wonder why I do not hear allusive arguments today to Palin’s claims then.  Given the now infamous “panel of men”  assembled to decide exactly what kind and how much, if any, health care women should receive, I wonder where Palin is and all her followers who were crying “foul” in 2009?

There is plenty wrong with “Obamacare.”  No one will deny that.  The biggest fault, in my book, was the withdrawal of the single-payer option which would have obviated the conflict with religious institutions we all witnessed last week.  What we did not get with Obamacare are “death panels.”

The Republicans, across the board, are bent on repealing Obamacare.   Where do they attack first?  Coverage of prescriptions and procedures known to be vital to women’s well-being and therefore family health and welfare.  But I hear no voices harking back to Palin’s  prognostication as this panel of men assembles to decide whether women  live in pain and life-threatening conditions or receive the medications and procedures that mitigate these conditions.

Anyone who has lost a mother at a young age,  Madonna and Rosie O”Donnell are two who come to mind, can attest to the devastation that brings to a family.  There are ways, now, to prevent such losses to young families that were not available to mothers of their generation.  My own mother lost her mom in childbirth when she was only six.  That might have been prevented today.  But Republicans think men, some of whom are educated in theology rather than medicine,  should be the voices to be heeded.

Among the Republicans, and specifically among those running for President, there is one who seems to believe essentially what Palin did about “death panels” and all that horror.

I ran across this article in Jezebel today, and there is an opposing argument.   The absolutely beautiful and healthy little baby,  if pictures are worth a thousand words, is testament to the value of pre-natal testing and monitoring.  This story is a must read.

Why Rick Santorum Would Have Killed My Daughter

Next month, my daughter Ella will turn 11 years old. She’s a beautiful girl, with blond hair and green eyes. She’s an amazing artist, a brilliant writer, and she can do the splits without even warming up.

And if I hadn’t had an amniocentesis, she would have died the day she was born.

Read More >>>>

She is a beautiful little baby girl, and she has the whole world in front of her.  Who knows what she might become?

Full disclosure here:  My sister and I were both Rh+ born to an Rh- mother.  We were both born blue.  We both developed jaundice,  and this was in the late 1940s,  so we never knew how we survived.  We do know that our mom had at least two miscarriages, perhaps for this reason, one before I was born and one between the two of us.

I am glad for the procedures, monitoring, and insurance coverage that allowed this beautiful girl-child to survive and thrive.

So WHERE are those “death panels?”


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I have no words.  Yesterday I was on Twitter and retweeted  what she had tweeted.

BBC News (World) @BBCWorld

“I saw a baby die today” – British journalist Marie Colvin on life in #Homs, #Syria bbc.in/AdUvry

Retweeted by Still4Hill

I felt so awful for that baby and for her.  When I woke up this morning, the first thing I heard (before looking) from the TV was that Marie herself  had died – had been killed.  That had been her final tweet.   You know how, when you lose someone, your arms, your whole body,   just go limp?  That happened to me about her.

My God!  She was simply fearless!  The courage!  She wanted to bring these stories home to us, and she did so risking everything.  The risk caught up with her this morning.

We will never forget your hunger to report, Marie.  We will always appreciate the way you put the story of the people before your own safety.  You are a hero.  We will always remember you, your mission, and your sacrifice.

Thank you for your dedication and service.  You have left us much too soon,  but you gave.   You gave so much!

Sunday Times
journalist Marie
Colvin killed in Syria

Reporter & French photographer

Last Updated: 23rd February 2012

AWARD-winning Sunday Times reporter Marie Colvin has been killed in Syria’s besieged rebel city of Homs.

Ms Colvin was one of two Western journalists who died after shells hit the house where they were sheltering.

The world-renowned foreign correspondent and French photographer Remi Ochlik, 28, were reportedly hit as they tried to flee.

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Here is her Wikipedia entry.

As we enter Womens’ s History Month shortly, I would remind young students in Women’s Studies Classes that history is what happened yesterday.  I know how many of you revisit the outstanding Mirabal sisters about whom I posted years ago.  Every year, at this time, so many of you go to that page.  But Marie Colvin is also a part of our history,  and what happened yesterday will live in my memory until I die.  She was yet another s/hero, as some like to put it.  Me?  I just call her a hero.  Intractable!   She stayed, having been called home, for that last story.  As it turned out, it was, truly,  her last,  but she gave her best.  Love you, Marie!  Rest in Peace.  You were always an angel for the people.

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The goal is 50,000 signatures.  I think we can do even better than that!


We almost couldn’t believe it.  Today, at a House Oversight Committee hearing, House Republicans convened a panel on denying access to birth control converge with five men and no women.  As my colleague Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney asked, where are the women?

Join me in our call to Speaker Boehner, Eric Cantor, Chairman Issa and all House Republicans to demand that women be brought to the table when discussing women’s health issues. Help us gather 50,000 signatures before Congress heads home tomorrow.

Sign the petition >>

Thank you for standing up for what’s right and joining our fight.

Nancy Pelosi

After you sign you can share on Facebook, Tweet, and you get an email that you can send to your contacts. Let’s share this! Let’s get 100,000! They can’t DO this!  We can STOP them!

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Karen Finney  posted this last night at Facebook.  Rep. Issa is abusing his power as committee chair while simultaneously abdicating true leadership with this unfair decision.  Here is Karen’s post.

Issa is refusing to hear from even one woman (or even a man) who could speak to the impact denying coverage for contraceptives has on women across our country. This abuse of power cant stand – in America both sides of an issue should be heard in the people’s house! Call Issa’s office now!  202-225-3906.

This is the link she posted with it.

Issa Rejects Minority Witness for Hearing on Contraception

Cummings Asks Issa to Reconsider and Let Witness Testify on Behalf of Women Across the Country

Washington, DC (Feb. 15, 2012)—Today, Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, Ranking Member of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, sent a letter to Chairman Darrell Issa objecting to his refusal to allow a minority witness to testify at tomorrow’s Committee hearing about the interests of millions of American women seeking safe and affordable coverage for basic preventive health care, including contraception.  The hearing is entitled “Lines Crossed:  Separation of Church and State. Has the Obama Administration Trampled on Freedom of Religion and Freedom of Conscience?”

Read the full letter >>>>

Thank you, Karen, for leading the way on this important issue!

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This was the statement.

U.S. Position on the Falkland (Malvinas) Islands

Taken Question

Office of the Spokesperson
Washington, DC
January 20, 2012

QUESTION: Does the U.S. take a position on the recent posturing between the United Kingdom and Argentina over the Falklands?

ANSWER: This is a bilateral issue that needs to be worked out directly between the governments of Argentina and the United Kingdom. We encourage both parties to resolve their differences through dialogue in normal diplomatic channels.

We recognize de facto United Kingdom administration of the islands but take no position regarding sovereignty.

I was impressed that both the U.K. and the Argentine appellations were used , and I thought the final sentence stated a very clear position given that both countries are allies of ours.  We do not have a dog in this fight (or should I say “show?”).

Today I came upon this commentary on Commentary:

Obama Sending Wrong Message on the Falklands.

Robert C. O’Brien, a former American representative to the UN, argues today in The Diplomat that the Obama administration has again turned its back on the United Kingdom in its dispute with Argentina over the Falklands. This is a rather easy call–British sovereignty there is lawful and the clear choice of Falklands residents. But Argentina is stirring up trouble there once again, and O’Brien suggests Obama’s behavior is indefensible and will have consequences:

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What got Seth Mandel all fired up was this lengthy diatribe by Robert C. O’Brien in  The Diplomat.

The Diplomat Blogs

Obama’s Falklands Failure

With the world’s attention focused on Bashar al-Assad’s violent suppression of the Syrian civilian uprising, and with the increasing likelihood of a strike by Israel to thwart Iran’s relentless drive to obtain nuclear weapons, perhaps the most underreported international story is the increasingly heated dispute between Britain and Argentina in the South Atlantic Ocean. It is an unfolding issue that could say much about the way the U.S. handles its alliances, including those in the Asia-Pacific region.

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Both Mandel, and O’Brien cite O’Brien as a former representative to the U.N., neither specifies which administration he represented.  I might have guessed.

Robert C. O’Brien is an American attorney who was nominated[1] by President George W. Bush on November 10, 2005 and confirmed by the US Senate as the US Alternate Representative to the 60th session of the United Nations General Assembly, which met in New York

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Clearly I was not following our foreign policy at the time with anything like the devotion I have accorded it since a certain brilliant, hard-working charmer took over as our top diplomat.

What advantage would be gained by U.S. interference in this disagreement is no clearer today than it was in 1982.  Of course the British subjects who are residents going back 175 years want to remain under what we term de facto U.K. administration in much the same way that the Protestants in Northern Ireland want to remain part of the Commonwealth.

Naturally, the Argentines feel that their Malvinas are an occupied territory colonized by the British.  Is there some other way of explaining how these islands came to be under British rule?

All who visit these pages know that I am not one to defend President Obama easily, and I certainly see the fingerprints of his Secretary of State, whom I admire (to put it very mildly), all over our policy on the issue.

While Mandel and O’Brien rant over our unwillingness to intrude,  I happen to like our clear, concise position as stated in the January 19 press briefing.   We have no reasons to stick our nose where it does not belong.

You know me well enough by now to be certain that I will not be ending a post like this  – especially since I am defending President Obama (!) without something from the awesome Hillary Rodham Clinton  – a picture, a quote – something!  Here is a video of her remarks on the matter during her visit to the Casa Rosada on March 2, 2010 as they were published here.

Video: Secretary Clinton’s Remarks on the Falklands/Malvinas

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A  few days ago I posted this because I see her as an important emerging leader,  and  I was astonished at how many of my readers did not know who she was: Meet Karen Finney.  In the post there was a link to a story Karen originally published in U.S. News & World Report where she mentions a Supreme Court Case.

Thankfully for our country, in the case of Loving v. Virginia, the Supreme Court saw beyond the fear and bigotry of the moment and ruled that antimiscegenation laws violated fundamental American values of Due Process and Equal Protection Under the Law as guaranteed to every American by our constitution.

Tonight at 9 EST HBO will present the documentary story of the Lovings.  What an appropriate way to celebrate this holiday!

Happy Valentine’s Day to all! ♥

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The untimely death of our Homegirl, Whitney Houston, has come as a huge shock to her fans around the world.  She was born in Newark, NJ, grew up in  East Orange, NJ, and passed away suddenly and unexpectedly today at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills, CA.

All over Facebook, her fans are putting up tributes, many consisting of her wonderful music.  I would like to share one of my very favorite Whitney moments.  This is from  Saturday Night Live  when “the perfect Whitney”   faced off with the always awkward Mary Katherine Gallagher for a spot in the Catholic school Christmas show.  (Whitney actually was the product of  the all girls Mount St. Dominic Academy.)  You will recognize Penny Marshall and Rosie O’Donnell as the nuns.

Thank you, Whitney, for all the music and also for the laughs.    Yes, we will always love you.  Our hearts and prayers go out to your family, loved ones, and fans the world over.

Here is Whitney’s Wikipedia page.

Here is Whitney’s Facebook page where you can see from her last entry how excited she was about the Grammys.  You can leave a message on her wall if you wish.

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Having introduced,  last night,  the brilliant young woman whom I see as an up and coming leader, a powerhouse,  for the traditional principles of the Democratic Party, I thought I would share a little more about her.  Do not go looking for her on Wikipedia.  She is not there!  I have no idea why not.  But I have seen parts of her story at Mulatto.org.


The story I found at that website was poignant.  It was sad, challenging, triumphant, sweet, and hers.  The first time I read it, I welled up.

This week , in the wake of the overturn of Prop 8 in California,  where Karen grew up,  she posted her story on her Facebook wall.  Here is her story as she told it in 2010 at U.S. News & World Report.

California Prop 8 Gay Marriage Ruling a Win For American Values

August 5, 2010

Yesterday’s ruling that California’s Proposition 8 is unconstitutional reaffirms a long-held American value that no matter how you try to spin it, separate is not equal. While some may not agree with same-sex marriage, history should remind us that our Constitution calls us to recognize that the laws in it apply equally, not to be picked apart to support a political agenda or bias. The arguments being used against same sex marriage are frighteningly similar and equally offensive as those once used against interracial marriage. While a Gallup poll in 1967 found that 74 percent of Americans disapproved of interracial marriage, it’s almost hard to remember just how far we’ve come.

Read more >>>> PLEASE READ MORE >>>>

When you look at that picture of Karen on that webpage, you have to wonder what must have gone through her grandfather’s heart to have missed those preceding years of this little girl growing up.  You think about how committed and frightened her parents must have been to escape the South.  You also cannot avoid thinking how lucky we are that her parents did what they did to have and give us this remarkable young woman.

As someone who went through similar experiences in those same years,  I deeply appreciate the courage of her parents.  I have no daughter (or son)  as a legacy,  but I was part of the war against  the inhuman miscegenation laws.  I celebrate the phenomenal human being Karen’s parents produced in the face of terrible legal implications.

When I see Karen post this story – her story – in relation to Prop 8, I wonder.  What phenomenal children are being raised in same-sex marriages?   What new leader will come along who might have languished in the foster care system or might never have been born were it not for the right of their parents to marry?

Every time I read Karen’s story,  and I have many times,  I am thankful that her parents defied the system – an unfair and cruel system – so that they could have this wonderful daughter, this brilliant, cheerful, adorable, funny, young woman with insights from which we all can learn.   I am also thankful that her grandfather came to know her.  He had to be proud.  If my dad had been her grandfather, he would have known her from birth and the sun would have risen and set in her. But that was my dad. (I miss him!)

Follow Karen on Twitter and see when she is scheduled to participate on panels!

For more on this very impressive young woman, check out her public profile at Politico.

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Yes we have heard this song before, and it is no sweeter referring to women in battle than it was referring to gays in combat or to a woman in the Oval Office.   As Jon Soltz recounts it at HuffPo   (and the video is embedded, so please do hear it from the horse’s mouth),  this is Santorum’s take on female troops in combat roles.

Jon Soltz

Co-Founder of VoteVets.org, Iraq War Veteran

Santorum Insults Women Who Served in Combat

Rick Santorum has no idea what’s happening in our military.On CNN, asked by John King if he agreed with a recent Pentagon decision that would formally open up front-line roles for women in combat, Santorum said, ” I think that could be a very compromising situation, where people naturally may do things that may not be in the interest of the mission, because of other types of emotions that are involved.”

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*SIGH*  Where to begin?  New Hampshire, 2008, Hillary Clinton mists over for a moment talking about why she has taken on the punishing task of running for president, and we hear charges that a woman is too emotionally unstable to lead the country.  Iowa, 2012, Newt Gingrich chokes up á la John Boehner (pick a day and issue), and it is fine.

We heard plenty of “what ifs” in the run-up to the repeal of DADT.  OMG!  You cannot put gay troops in the trenches much less the barracks and the (Heaven forefend) showers with straight troops!  Chaos will surely ensue!

So now we have a prospective Commander-in-Chief suggesting that trained female combatants might act differently from the way their male counterparts do based on … um?  Emotions?

I do not hold the honor of having served in the military, but I know this.  Troops act upon orders – not upon head or heart – upon orders, and those orders in turn are given by those with the rank and training to make battlefield decisions.  Troops act in tandem as teams.  It does not matter if your teammate is male,  female.  straight, or gay.  There is a job, and your team is under orders to do it.

What Rick Santorum is thinking is way beyond my ability to imagine, but Soltz brilliantly explains exactly how and why female troops are especially valuable in the field given the cultural medium within which our military is currently operating.

We have a volunteer military.  It is the best in the world.  We all should be proud of every single one of those who choose to serve.  I have never had a moment of trepidation that sexual issues would interfere with action in combat.  Santorum should be ashamed.

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