Of all the reasons to send our people to fight and die in Afghanistan, spending $2 billion per week in the process, Howard Dean has managed to come up with perhaps the worst: feminism.
On today's Morning Joe, Dean explained that "the whole reason" he used to support President Obama's waging of the Afghanistan war was that leaving the country would plunge its women back into "the Stone Age." But now that Afghan President Karzai has showed insufficient support for women's right in Dean's eyes, it's time to get out.
The news leaked out Monday that Katie Couric is stepping down from her failed experiment as the anchor of the “CBS Evening News.” People inside the news business greeted the news as shocking. But what’s shocking is that Couric didn’t get the boot years ago. CBS’s ratings cratered while she earned $15 million annually.
Couric was once projected as the Great White Female Hope after Dan Rather’s involuntary retirement in 2005. His numbers in his last week had dropped to a last place 8.1 million nightly audience. But what did Couric deliver?
In the Sunday New York Times obituary for liberal Democrat 1984 vice-presidential nominee Geraldine Ferraro, Douglas Martin presented her as "hounded" by sexist anti-abortion conservatives who would metaphorically persecute her to death:
The abortion issue, magnified because she was Roman Catholic and a woman, plagued her campaign. Though she opposed the procedure personally, she said, others had the right to choose for themselves. Abortion opponents hounded her at almost every stop with an intensity seldom experienced by male politicians.
Writing in The Washington Post in September 1984, the columnist Mary McGrory quoted an unnamed Roman Catholic priest as saying, “When the nuns in the fifth grade told Geraldine she would have to die for her faith, she didn’t know it would be this way.”
The National Organization for Women on Tuesday finally responded to Bill Maher calling Sarah Palin a highly derogatory term for a woman's vagina, but did so without mentioning Maher's name, the program he said it on, or the television network he represents.
NOW Communications Director Lisa Bennett also took the opportunity to bash conservatives (photo courtesy Reuters):
All you need to know about why people on the right were dissatisfied with Kathleen Parker as the supposedly conservative counterweight to Eliot Spitzer on the pair's recently-canned CNN show was crystallized on Morning Joe today. The panel unleashed an absolute gush-a-thon over Parker, Mika Brzezinski declaring her "one of my favorite people" and Willie Geist describing her as "a great writer."
For good measure, the MSNBC folks delighted in dumping on rival CNN. Mike Barnicle took top trash-talking honors, claiming Parker had been "brutalized" at the network.
Thursday’s New York Times led with the Supreme Court’s 8-1 decision in the case pitting Westboro Baptist Church, the notorious roaming enclave that pickets funerals holding signs bearing messages like “God Hates Fags,” against the family of a Marine who died in Iraq, Matthew Snyder, whose funeral was picketed.
ABC and NBC touted the Obama administration's new report on women by leading their evening news shows with it on Tuesday. Diane Sawyer gushed over the "huge new report," while NBC's Savannah Guthrie trumpeted the "first comprehensive White House report on women since...Kennedy asked Eleanor Roosevelt to lead a study." CBS also highlighted the report on Evening News and on The Early Show the next day.
NBC's Brian Williams, during his introduction to correspondent Savannah Guthrie's report, proclaimed how "the White House reported some new numbers today about women in this country, and while, in many ways, women continue to pass men by, an old problem is just as bad, just as serious, and it continues to hold women back economically." After noting the gains by women in terms of college attendance, Williams continued that the problem was "the pay gap in the workplace, and that hasn't changed."
Guthrie began with her Eleanor Roosevelt line, and continued that the report "paints a portrait of a modern woman- less June Cleaver, more Liz Lemon" (Tina Fey's character from "30 Rock"). She then spouted some of the figures from the Obama administration document:
It's so easy to look at teenagers in general today and sigh. They’re more than a bit lazy, a bit spoiled, and more than a bit morally compromised. Two teenagers made national news. One showed common decency and sportsmanship, two virtues seemingly uncommon in that generation. Hope is restored.
Fifteen-year-old wrestler Joel Northrup faced a dilemma when he was scheduled to wrestle Cassy Herkelman, one of only two girls to make it to the state tournament. Even though he entered with a 35-4 record, Joel forfeited rather than violate his religious principles.
Cassy’s father, Bill Herkelman, praised the Northrup family: "That's their belief, and I praise them for sticking to it. This is the biggest stage in wrestling in the state, I would say, and they stuck to their beliefs when it probably tested it the most," he said. "It was probably a tough pill for him to swallow."
The National Organization for Women issued a statement from president Terry O'Neill Wednesday with a clearly anti-religion message. The headline: "U.S. Catholic Bishops Major Force Behind War on Women." It began:
The collusion of House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has led to an open declaration of war on the women of this country. The bishops have long sought to enshrine into law those policies of the Catholic Church that subordinate women. And they don't care how badly women get hurt in the process.
On Monday's Morning Edition, National Public Radio offered the latest entry in its year-long series "The Hidden World of Girls," which is subsidized by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and the National Endowment for the Arts. Naturally, any series with this title might disappoint if it didn't explore lesbians in Islamic countries, in this case, Pakistan.
Apparently, though, the definition of "girls" is quite flexible. On the October 16 All Things Considered, NPR celebrated the journey of Adam "Theresa" Sparks, running to be the first transgender member of the San Francisco City Council.
For this story, reporter Habiba Nosheen told listeners that the names of the lesbians had been changed to protect them:
Count National Organization for Women president Terry O'Neill as one leftist who will quickly and easily blame the horrific shooting of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and others on Saturday on GOP Members of Congress, and still unproven Tea Party racial slurs yelled at Rep. John Lewis and the withdrawn claims of Rep. Emanuel Cleaver that he was spat upon purposely. O'Neill's press statement began by blaming Sarah Palin:
NOW condemns the tragic shooting of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.) that stole six lives and seriously injured 12 today. We condemn, equally, the culture of hate and violence increasingly reflected in extreme right-wing opponents of those who support progressive solutions to our country's challenges.
Rep. Giffords, whose office was vandalized after she voted for the federal health care reform law last year, was also named on Sarah Palin's "Targeted" list. Giffords (who has been consistently endorsed by NOW's PAC) herself understood the not-so-well veiled threat, stating "the thing is that the way she [Palin] has it depicted, we're in the crosshairs of a gun sight over our district. When people do that, they've got to realize that there are consequences to that action."
It took a man to break the porcelain ceiling in the U.S. House of Representatives.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had a hard time in Kyrgyzstan recently. She explained that "it requires, for a woman, usually in today's world still, an extra amount of effort." She explained that people tend to be extra critical of a female politician and how she looks. A member of the press went on to ask her what designer she wears. "Would you ever ask a man that question?" she shot back.
If only John Boehner had been there.
Hillary's professorial moment happened as the incoming male Republican speaker of the House, John Boehner, announced plans to build a women's restroom by the House floor back in Washington.
That's right. We endured a national adulation campaign back in November 2006 after it became clear that Democrats would give a woman the Speaker's gavel for the first time in American history. San Francisco Democrat Nancy Pelosi told Katie Couric at the time: "As a woman, I'm very, very thrilled because I carry a special responsibility. I've broken the 'marble ceiling.' This Congress is steeped in tradition and history, and it's very hard for a woman to succeed to the level that I have, and I think it sends a message to all women that if this can happen, anything can happen." She broke the "marble ceiling"-- but evidently porcelain was beyond her power.
"All this week on 'The World Today,' we're taking a close look at why it is that women are feeling the credit crunch more than men around the world," BBC presenter Komla Dumor told listeners of the October 21 Global News podcast, adding that "one obvious reason is that they're starting from a disadvantaged position in society and in many cultures around the world, that position of disadvantage is sanctioned by religion."
That's hard to dispute, given the role that radical Islam has in treating women in countries like Saudi Arabia and Afghanistan as, at best, second-class citizens.
But of course radical Islam was not put on the defensive by the BBC today, Catholicism was.
Do you have your John Boehner Halloween costume yet? I know it's not flying off the shelves of your nearest costume headquarters, but you'd never know that listening to President Barack Obama and those who exist to keep the Democratic Party in power.
After Obama's recent attempts to demonize the pro-life Republican Ohio congressman -- and presumptive House Speaker, after the midterms -- the pro-abortion feminist group EMILY's List has hit the trail, and perhaps your favorite liberal gal's Facebook page, looking to make even the sound of Boehner's name chill-inducing enough to make you vote Democratic. "Don't let John Boehner and Republicans turn back the clock," their "John Boehner's America" website implores -- indicating that this chronically dissatisfied interest group can't even come up with new pickup lines. In a speech to the Women's National Democratic Club, EMILY's List president Stephanie Schriock announced: "John Boehner can only take the speaker's gavel from Nancy Pelosi by defeating the Democratic women you and I have worked so hard to elect. And by discouraging women voters so much that they stay home on Nov. 2."
And with that, the president of EMILY's List, a political action committee that exists to elect supporters of legal abortion to political office, made clear she's not listening to what Americans are telling politicians. She's taking her November strategy from the president, and focusing like a laser on making a pro-life Ohio congressman from humble roots this year's bogeyman.
According to The Politico, EMILY's List President Stephanie Schriock will blast the Republican Party for being "anti-woman" in a speech before the Women's National Democratic Club this afternoon.
Schriock will reportedly talk about how the number of female lawmakers in Congress might decline this year, echoing a front-page USA Today headline from Monday that claimed "Elections are likely to trim number of women in Congress."
In fact, the number of women running for Congress is at a record high this election season, thanks to a significant increase in female Republican candidates. There are over 100 women running on the GOP ticket for House seats alone.
But that hasn't stopped EMILY's List from continuing to portray conservatives and Republicans as chauvinistic.
Blasting the GOP as a "party that believes that women belong in the kitchen," Schriock will reportedly say that "This year may be the first year in 30 years that the number of women in Congress decreases. And the possible result could be truly devestating: Speaker John Boehner."
Don’t read Newsweek magazine while drinking a beverage. A spit take is the obvious first reaction to a column by Julia Baird headlined “The Shame of Family Films.” On the Internet, this article is coded as “Why family films are so sexist.”
Baird's denunciation of Hollywood's fraction of decent entertainment began: “They have all been smash hits: ‘Finding Nemo,’ ‘Madagascar,’ ‘Ice Age,’ ‘Toy Story.’ Fish, penguins, rats, stuffed animals, talking toys. All good innocent family fun, right? Sure, except there are few female characters in those films. There are certainly few doing anything meaningful or heroic – and no, Bo Peep doesn't count.”
So what does feminist bean-counting have to do with whether a movie is “good innocent family fun”? Did any young girl come away from “Finding Nemo” feeling like the memory-challenged Ellen DeGeneres fish character didn’t represent female empowerment effectively? Were they offended by the oppressively archaic stereotype of Jessie the Yodeling Cowgirl during “Toy Story 2"? Families can’t enjoy these films without expecting them to pass some politically correct quota exam?
MSNBC daytime anchor Contessa Brewer has recently drawn much attention for her shameless bias towards gay-rights activists, especially since she anchors an MSNBC news hour and not a talk show. But today, interviewing ultra-liberal Rep. Alan Grayson (D-Fla.), Brewer actually grilled him for his shamelessly-edited ad attacking his Republican opponent Daniel Webster.
Grayson, a freshman Democrat, has made a name for himself in the past year for his outlandish soundbites and theatrics on Capitol Hill. His latest venture into psycho talk is an attack ad accusing Webster of degrading women, calling him the "Taliban."
"So Congressman, your opponent is a fellow American, a longtime public servant of the people of Florida, and you called him the 'Taliban'," Brewer began. "How do you defend that?"
Brewer also asked Grayson to explain his editing of Webster's reference to Scripture. The commercial showed Webster quoting the Bible, "Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands." However, the ad conveniently left out what Webster said before the quote, distorting the whole context of the remark.
Are "Mama Grizzlies" who oppose state children's health insurance programs (S-CHIP) and teachers' unions unfaithful to their maternal name? CNN anchor Kiran Chetry joined Newsweek's Lisa Miller Monday in wondering if that is so. Miller appeared on CNN's "American Morning" to feature her most recent piece on "Mama Grizzlies," prominent female conservatives in the vein of Sarah Palin.
"All the candidates that we – whose records we looked at, are against the Obama health plan in general, and yes, the CHIP program in specific," reported Miller, a senior editor for Newsweek. "There are rising numbers of poor children in this country, a quarter of America's children are poor. It seems like a funny way to say that you're for kids, and be against all of these programs."
Miller ultimately concluded that the "Mama Grizzlies" movement will fall short of its political goals, because "the issues facing the country are complex, and bears are not."
"Do we really want bears to solve our problems?" Miller quipped at the end of the segment.
"I've said many times before, we're all held to a high standard here."
- Roger Goodell, NFL Commissioner
...except when our players are engaged in sexist conversations.
Fresh off the heels of a locker room controversy involving reporter Ines Sainz, in which Goodell referred to New York Jets players as engaging in ‘unprofessional conduct' toward a female reporter, we have a couple of star NFL players discussing their thoughts on seeing Sarah Palin pose in Playboy.
Terrell Owens and Chad Ochocinco of the Cincinnati Bengals have been debuting their new show in short clips on the Versus network, the self-proclaimed ‘nation's fastest growing sports network.' The program is called The T.Ocho Show. Ochocinco brags of the edgy programming saying.
"Versus is taking a big risk giving us this show. It's gonna be dangerous. Watch with care."
That said, the Versus website is promoting a video clip in which the NFL stars are asked, "Would you rather see Sarah Palin in the White House or in Playboy?"
On Friday's American Morning, CNN's Carol Costello followed up on her biased report from the previous day, which promoted Catholic women posing as priests, with a second report on dissenting Catholics, focusing on heterodox nuns inside the U.S. Costello promoted the claim of the nuns, who accuse the Vatican of conducting an "inquisition," or wanting to "silence nuns when they disagree with the Pope."
Substitute anchor Drew Griffin gave a brief on Pope Benedict XVI's second day in the U.K. 25 minutes into the 6 am Eastern hour, just before his colleague Kiran Chetry introduced the correspondent's report. Chetry proclaimed how the Vatican is apparently "squarely at odds with American nuns," and that many of these nuns "feel they're under siege from the Church, which is questioning the quality of their religious life." Costello picked up where the anchor left off: "[T]he Vatican is now conducting two sweeping investigations of American nuns...the Vatican hopes to have a better understanding of how nuns live their lives in the United States. Nuns don't see it that way, though. Many think these investigations are nothing short of interrogations, designed to take away all they've gained."
Costello led her report by featuring Sister Maureen Fiedler, a liberal public radio host who attended the "ordination" of seven women on the Danube River in 2002. Fiedler stated during her first sound bite, "Some of my friends asked me why the Vatican officials suffer from a deep seed hatred of women." The correspondent continued by describing how "the Vatican ordered two sweeping investigations into the religious views and lifestyles of American nuns- investigations that have alarmed many sisters like Marlene Weisenbeck, whose organization represents thousands of American nuns across the country." Sister Weisenbeck was president of the Leadership Council of Women Religious until August 2010. She led the organization when it endorsed ObamaCare, contrary to the stance of the U.S. bishops' conference. Costello played two sound bites from the nun during her report.
While most media outlets obsessed over the liberal theme that Republicans keep "suicidally" nominating "ultra-conservatives," Washington Post reporter Anne Kornblut, who authored a book earlier this year called Notes from the Cracked Ceiling, noticed a different trend. Her story was headlined "GOP gains the lead in female politicians' steps forward." Tuesday's victories of Palin-endorsed GOP women Christine O'Donnell and Kelly Ayotte underline an emerging Year of the Republican Woman. Too bad the Post buried it on Page A-6 of the paper, and it hasn't been linked on the Post's homepage today, either. Kornblut began:
Democrats used to own the field of women running for higher office. Not anymore.
Nearly two years after an anticipated gender bounce - with predictions that women in both parties would rush into politics inspired by Hillary Rodham Clinton and Sarah Palin -- it turns out that the momentum is on the Republican side. If there is a Palin effect, it is not being matched by any Clinton effect at the other end of the ideological spectrum.
On his national radio show Tuesday, Ed Schultz took a decidedly un-liberal view on the controversy over provocatively dressed Mexican sportscaster Ines Sainz being sexually harassed by players in the New York Jets locker room.
Yeah, she's going through jock strap heaven. She's in the locker room! (Laughs) There's been sexist comments in locker rooms since the day they started having sports! What does she expect?!
But when Schultz's own network, NBC, went looking for a soundbite for the "caveman" point of view on Wednesday's Today, they turned to Rush Limbaugh for scolding instead. Matt Lauer singled out Limbaugh as the sexist pig: "Everyone from Rush Limbaugh to late-night comedians are weighing in. And much of the attention is on what Ines Sainz wears instead of the football player's behavior. And is that fair? Does it matter what she had on? We're going to have more on that just ahead."
New York Times science writer Natalie Angier talked to some women annoyed at being called “ma'am” for the Sunday Week in Review (“Just Don't Call Me...Ma'am”) and worked in a typical jab at the male of the species.
Classes are now underway at Pennsylvania State University, and Judith Kroll, a professor of psychology, linguistics and women’s studies, will soon be greeting her undergraduate students with the usual brief spiel. “I get up and say, you can call me Dr. Kroll, or professor, or Judith if you like, but do not call me Mrs.,” she said. “I am not Mrs. Kroll. I kept my name when I got married and my husband kept his name.”
There is one other honorific that Dr. Kroll dislikes and that she dearly wishes she could bar from the classroom: ma’am. Whenever a student says, “Yes ma’am” or “Is that going to be on the test, ma’am?” Dr. Kroll says she cringes and feels weird. Yet because ma’am, unlike Mrs., isn’t factually incorrect, Dr. Kroll resists the urge to scold. “My first take has got to be, this person is just trying to be polite,” she sighed.
Another day, another ma’am-ogram: you may not want it; it may make you feel flattened, desexualized, overripe and nearly through; but trust me, ma’am, we’re doing it all for you.
There are weightier problems in the world. Still, if you’re a woman born any time before the Clinton administration, chances are you’ve been called ma’am on more than one occasion -- by solicitous waiters asking whether you were “Done working on that, ma’am?” and hovering store clerks wondering if they can “help you find anything, ma’am,” and traffic cops telling you to “Move your car, ma’am, this isn’t a parking lot,” and the perky, hardworking fellows at the farmers’ market who see you week after week but will always cram so many ma’ams into every transaction that you realize there’s no turning back, you’ve been ma’amed for life.
Angier defended liberal Sen. Barbara Boxer's notoriously graceless tantrum over being called ma'am by a military man trying to show respect:
The list includes the radio talk show host who called a female senator a "prostitute" for cutting a deal to benefit her state, the male challenger who referred to his female rival [as] "attractive" and "probably a good mother," and the TV host who noted that the candidate's wife looked like an angry woman.
On Tuesday's Situation Room, CNN's Jack Cafferty revisited one of his favorite subjects of ire, the Catholic Church, and this time called for the ordination of women. Cafferty highlighted the advertising campaign of a British organization which demands that Pope Benedict XVI allow for such simulations of ordination, and mocked a Catholic priest's defense of the all-male priesthood.
The commentator devoted his 6 pm Eastern hour Cafferty File segment to the issue of women's ordination: "'Pope Benedict: ordain women now'- that's the message that will be plastered on London buses when the pontiff heads to England's capital in a couple of weeks. A group called Catholic Women's Ordination is spending $15,000 for 15 buses to carry posters with that message around London for a month."
Cafferty then moved to the opposing viewpoint, and wasted little time before bashing it and one of its defenders: "Father Stephen Wang says women are not barred from the priesthood because of sexism....Wang says that Jesus chose 12 men, and no women, to be his apostles, and he adds that men and women are equal in Christianity, but that gender still matters. Wang compares the role of a priest to an actor, saying no one would be surprised if he wanted a male actor to play King Arthur. He then admits the analogy is weak. That's the most startling and profound thing he said in the message so far- terrible!"
Liberal Democratic strategists reading today's Washington Post are probably taking notes, preparing talking points for a future which may hold a Republican Congress in the cards.
"British women to bear budget pain" cried the page A6 headline. "Report says austerity plan mostly cuts into women's livelihoods," added the subheader for London-based Post staffer Anthony Faiola's story.
Faiola noted that "[t]he Fawcett Society, a leading women's rights group here, filed an unprecedented complaint with the nation's high court this month, arguing that the government failed to consider the effect on women of its leaner 'emergency budget.'"
At no point did Faiola find a critic to allege that the social welfare system in Britain itself was "sexist" or at least that it victimizes poor Britons, particularly women, by creating a culture of dependency on the state.
Police Chief David Brown (pictured right) was pressed on this, and here was how blogger Andrea Grimes of the Dallas Observer interpreted his remarks:
But Ms. Jasso read my mind, asking the Chief to explain the... increase.... is it that victims are reporting rapes more frequently, or that more rapes are happening? The answer, unfortunately: More rapes, says Chief Brown, specifically date rapes. And we all know what the solution to date rape is: getting women to stop drinking, because that is what causes date rape. Not dudes raping women, but women drinking.
CNN's Jessica Yellin, a one-time "prominent feminist activist," helped forward the talking points of the pro-abortion lobby by devoting part of a segment on Tuesday's Rick's List to EMILY List's new anti-Sarah Palin ad. Yellin aired their left-wing accusations against the Republican and her endorsed candidates without providing the other side and/or fact-checking them [audio clips available here].
Anchor Rick Sanchez introduced the issue by bringing up the Republican's recent "mamma grizzly" ad: "It seemed like a very effective ad that Sarah Palin had put out. I mean, professionally speaking, it was very clean, very well put together- the whole 'grizzly mom' ad that everyone was talking about- and, apparently, there's some blowback on this now. What is that?"
Late in the 7:00AM ET hour of Monday's CBS Early Show, correspondent Michelle Miller reported on the "war of words" between actress Jennifer Aniston and Fox News host Bill O'Reilly over women having children without a man. Miller remarked that Aniston had "made a seemingly simple comment supporting the concept," while the "conservative" O'Reilly "slammed the actress" for doing so.
The report included sound bites of O'Reilly: "That's destructive to our society....She's throwing a message out to 12-year-olds and 13-year-olds, okay, that 'hey, you don't need the guy. You don't need the dad." Miller followed up by noting: "It's not the first time a political conservative has lashed out at an actress for supporting single moms. In a 1992 speech, Dan Quayle questioned the choices of fictional character Murphy Brown."
She concluded the story by touting: "Aniston fired back the latest shot at O'Reilly, telling People magazine, quote, 'Of course the ideal scenario for parenting is obviously two parents of a mature age, but for those who've not yet found their Bill O'Reilly, I'm just glad science has provided a few other options.'"
After Miller's report, fill-in co-host Chris Wragge jokingly declared: "Jennifer Aniston, how dare you?" He then argued: "I mean, it's just a movie, right, at this point? I understand, I guess, both sides, but I think it's a little much about-" Fill-in co-host Erica Hill interjected: "Much ado about nothing."
Today I am thinking about all the reasons William K. Black detests me. Last Tuesday, I reported how MSNBC promoted the findings of June Carbone and Naomi Cahn, co-authors of Red Families v. Blue Families, without acknowledging their affiliation with the Roosevelt Institute, a left-wing think tank. On Friday, Black, associate professor at the University of Missouri, Kansas City, devoted almost 1,500 words, in an article cross-posted to the Huffington Post, to assaulting my character, dismissing me as a "divider," positing that I "have unresolved difficulties with gays," and claiming I have "sex fantasies" about the book.
Black, pictured from an April 30 appearance on PBS's Bill Moyers Journal, is also Carbone's husband.