Sunday, February 24, 2008

A Funny

From last night's SNL

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Monday, February 18, 2008

Anti-intelluctualism in America, Still

Richard Hosfstader wrote Anti-intelluctualism in American Life in 1964. Susan Jacoby has written The Age of American Unreason just published this week by Pantheon. Jacoby is the heir apparent, taking up Hofstader's premise, but going a step further and showing the implication of 50 + years of the decline of American culture into infotainment without content that has yielded an America that is both arrogant and ignorant.

To hear her on Bill Moyers' Journal (2/15/08) click on this link:

Friday, February 15, 2008

Misogyny in the Media and

in Society...

The National Organizastion for Women's President, Kim Gandy puts forth a strong argument about sexism in the media . I add that it is applicable to our entire society its not just about a woman running for president---BTW Hillary is not the first woman to run for president--Victoria Woodhull was in 1872(!)--nor is she the only woman candidate in 2008--Cynthia McKinney is heading the Green Party's ticket (

Ignorance and Venom: The Media's Deeply Ingrained Sexism
Below the Belt: A Biweekly Column by NOW President Kim Gandy

February 14, 2008
My email runneth over. I can't tell you how many people have emailed or
called me outraged by the sorry display of sexism in the media these days.
Much of this venom is currently directed at one woman -- Sen. Hillary
Clinton -- though as we have pointed out before
, no woman in the
public eye, from Nancy Pelosi to Michelle Obama, is exempt.
For the first time in our nation's history, the idea of a woman president is
no longer limited to the fantasy world of TV or movies. Possibility could
become reality this November, and some folks are just having a hard time
dealing with it. That many of those people have high-profile jobs at major
news outlets is a cryin' shame.
We've been down this road before –- yes, NOW called out the media's bad
behavior several times last year, and thousands of women and men
demonstrated their agreement by signing our petition
serious and fair election coverage. Well, we're barely into 2008, and
already we have plenty of fresh examples of the media's failure to clean up
its act.
The press have been brutal to Clinton, no doubt about it. Whether
consciously or not, too many reporters, commentators, pundits and the like
appear unable to critique Hillary Clinton without dusting off their favorite
sexist clichés, stereotypes and insults. Some of these remarks seem mild,
while others are offensive and truly outrageous. Taken together, they create
an environment of hostility toward all women, not just Senator Clinton. At
this moment it feels like she is a stand-in for every woman who has ever
tried to get ahead and be taken seriously by the powers that be.
There are four common themes in media coverage of Clinton's candidacy:
First, Clinton is criticized using a gender-based grading system. The media
evaluate how she looks, dresses, talks, laughs and even claps. She is held
to double standards familiar to working women. A man demonstrates toughness
and strength; a woman who behaves similarly is called icy and rigid. His
behavior shows compassion and warmth, but her similar behavior shows too
much emotion and maybe weakness. He knows how to work the system; she is
manipulative. He shows a mastery of the subject; she is nit-picky. He thinks
through all the options before charting a course; she is calculating.
Second, our society still has not come to terms with ambition in women -- it
is suspect. Clinton is frequently charged with doing or saying anything to
win. But I think it has an extra sharp anti-woman overtone as it is used
against Hillary. In other words, everything Clinton does to win the election
-- strategizing, organizing, confronting, comparing and contrasting -- is
interpreted as calculating, fake or just plain evil. But when a man
campaigns hard, refusing to cede an inch, they call it . . . running for
Third, Clinton is presumed to be where she is today because of her husband,
Bill. The fact that Clinton has a famous former president for a husband is
used to discredit her own achievements and to imply that maybe she couldn't
have made it on her own. I’m trying to remember if any of these commentators
implied that George W. Bush shouldn't be taken seriously as a candidate
because his father had been president. Or that people shouldn't vote for a
certain male candidate because he clearly got a leg up from his powerful
family's money, legacy? Or say from the advantages bestowed by his wife's
fortune? Who's to say that if Hillary had taken the fast-track first,
instead of Bill, she wouldn't have risen to the top before him?
Finally, when all else fails, belittle the voters. Women voters are
irrational and biased, and voting only on the basis of gender, the press are
happy to intimate (at least about the women who are voting for Hillary), and
they not so subtly imply that all voters are stupid and shallow. When the
pundits try to mind-read the general public to guess why they cast their
ballots one way or another, they often conclude that voters make decisions
based on the same superficial traits that fascinates the talking-heads
themselves -- like who seems "comfortable in their own skin" or who strikes
them as annoyingly nerdy.
One more thing: Hillary Clinton, and women in general, aren't the only ones
subject to gender-based assessments. Barack Obama and John Edwards have also
been degraded when the media detect in them "feminine" characteristics or
behaviors (like paying attention to your appearance) that supposedly are
unbecoming in men. That's right, both women and men can be poked with the
"girls are icky" stick.
Regarding women and men and politics, we really ought to be past the tree
house-years. It's not just those in the public eye who are hurt when the
media promote sex stereotypes. Daughters everywhere are hearing the message
that a woman can't be as competent and effective a leader as a man. Or that
all strong women are ball-busters (or nut-crackers) -- right up until they
finally reveal that they're just weepy wimps. (Never trust a crying woman.
She's after something, you know.)
Just so you don't think I’m making this up, here are a few (of course I had
to leave out MSNBC's Chris Matthews
because he deserves a whole
list all by himself) -- of the latest offenders:
Maureen Dowd, The New York Times, Feb. 13, 2008

Relaying a joke told by Penn Jillette: "Obama is just creaming Hillary. You
know, all these primaries, you know. And Hillary says it's not fair, because
they're being held in February, and February is Black History Month. And
unfortunately for Hillary, there's no White Bitch Month."
Katie Couric, CBS's 60 Minutes, Feb. 10, 2008
Interviewing Clinton: "What were you like in high school? Were you the girl
in the front row taking meticulous notes and always raising your hand? . .
Someone told me your nickname in school was 'Miss Frigidaire' -- is that
David Shuster, guest-hosting MSNBC's Tucker, Feb. 7, 2008

Regarding Chelsea Clinton making calls for her mother's campaign: "[T]here's
just something a little bit unseemly to me that Chelsea is out there calling
up celebrities saying, 'Support my mom.' . . . doesn't it seem like
Chelsea's sort of being pimped out in some weird sort of way?"
Lester Holt, MSNBC's primary coverage, Feb. 5, 2008

Incredulously, apparently shocked by exit poll results: "With the field of
Democratic candidates reduced to two, we asked primary voters, 'Who would
make the best commander in chief of the U.S. armed forces?' And here, it was
Hillary Clinton who was the clear favorite. The first woman candidate with a
serious shot at winning the presidency beat out her male rival -- look at
these numbers -- 50 percent to 35 percent. Keep in mind, this at a time the
nation is fighting on two fronts."
Andrew Sullivan,, Feb. 4. 2008
"The second bout of public tears just before a crucial primary vote - after
no evidence that Senator Hillary Clinton has a history of tearing up in
front of the cameras - provokes the unavoidable question: should feminists
actively vote against Clinton to defend the cause of female equality?"
Bill Kristol (New York Times columnist), panelist on Fox News Sunday, Feb.
3, 2008
"Look, the only people for Hillary Clinton are the Democratic establishment
and white women . . . . White women are a problem, that's, you know -- we
all live with that." After other panelists stated their disagreement,
Kristol responded: "I know, I shouldn't have said that."
Maureen Dowd, The New York Times, Jan. 30, 2008

"Like Scarlett O'Hara after a public humiliation, Hillary showed up at the
gathering wearing a defiant shade of red."
Mike Barnicle, guest on MSNBC's Morning Joe, Jan. 23, 2008

"[W]hen she reacts the way she reacts to Obama with just the look, the look
toward him, looking like everyone's first wife standing outside a probate
court, OK?"
Maureen Dowd, The New York Times, Jan. 23, 2008

"It's odd that the first woman with a shot at becoming president is so
openly dependent on her husband to drag her over the finish line."
Tucker Carlson, MSNBC's Tucker, Jan. 22, 2008

"It takes a lot of guts for a rich, privileged white lady who is one of the
most powerful people in the world to claim that she is a victim of gender
discrimination. . . . She hasn't driven her own car in almost 20 years and
she's a victim of discrimination? I mean can't we both agree that's just
Gail Collins, The New York Times, Jan. 10, 2008.

"The women whose heart went out to Hillary knew that it wasn't rational. .
they gave her a sympathy vote."
Chris Matthews, guesting on MSNBC's Morning Joe, Jan. 9, 2008

"Let's not forget -- and I'll be brutal -- the reason she's a U.S. senator,
the reason she's a candidate for president, the reason she may be a
front-runner is her husband messed around. That's how she got to be senator
from New York."
If you share my concern about the level of media sexism, sign our petition
to the media
NOW and tell them that their sexist campaign coverage must stop.
Thanks to our friends at Media Matters for their excellent research on media
sexism which contributed to these links.
Recent Below the Belt columns XML

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non-commercial use. National Organization for Women
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Thursday, February 07, 2008

Romney drops Out

Romney's statement:
"If I fight on in my campaign, all the way to the convention, I would forestall the launch of a national campaign and make it more likely that Senator Clinton or Obama would win. And in this time of war, I simply cannot let my campaign, be a part of aiding a surrender to terror," Romney told the Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington.

Notice how he framed the Democrats as the path to "a surrender to terror."

Monday, February 04, 2008

The difference between Universal and

voluntary health care policy is a vast one. While Obama wants to steer clear of mandating health care insurance because its against "freedom of choice" he does us a huge disservice.
If the underlying goal is to have a healthy citizen so that that healthy citizen can work, thus that production will be beneficial to that person, and to the country's economics. We already have mandatory universal coverage of the very poor--medicaid--the very old--medicare-- and veterans--through the Veterans' Administration.
The people who would opt out are those lower middle income workers who do not have the extra discretionary cash to pay for health care insurance--that is seen as a luxury--or those who are young adults and healthy. The numbers are estimated by Obama at 15 million people, some say 22 million. Both groups are potentially ill or disabled, who pays then? We all do at a much higher rate.
Clinton's plan, while not perfect, moves us along to universal coverage. She also proposes that there is no stipulation that forgoes coverage of "pre-existing" conditions. This is a crucial element, it allows for people to receive treatment earlier, rather than have to wait--sometimes 2 years or more, thus the rate of survival/recovery is much better.

Paul Krugman looks at the numbers and costs, and also analyzes the potential political problems of both Obama's and Clinton's health care proposals:


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