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Archive for March, 2010

Deep Concepts

I don’t know what else to say about THIS, except “Well, Duh!”

To follow Krugman’s allegory, if you send all the potential for growth overseas, lock in wages to a miserable dribble, and transform whatever production we do have, into high flying bogus financial instruments  that disappear into the night, well then yeah, debt becomes a problem because we don’t have real growth.

Now, if he can just get  a few other “Financial Solons” to grok this concept. Or, maybe, that was the point.

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No one should have this happen. I hope good things for Senator Reid, his family, and that Landra and Lana have a quick and speedy recovery:

Reid Caring for Injured Wife, Daughter and Health Care Negotatiations

March 11, 2010 6:49 PM

{ABC’s Z. Byron Wolf reports: Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D- Nevada, was splitting his time tonight between caring for his wife and daughter, seriously injured in a car crash Thursday in Washington DC , and late stage health care negotiations in the Senate.

Reid’s wife Landra and daughter Lana were rear-ended by a semi-truck on a DC highway, according to Reid’s spokesman. They are being treated at a Washington area hospital.

“Mrs. Reid has a broken nose, broken back and broken neck.  Lana has a neck injury and facial lacerations.  Both Mrs. Reid and Lana are conscious, can feel their extremities, and according to doctors their injuries are non-life threatening.  Senator Reid has been to the hospital and appreciates the support he and his family are receiving from Nevadans and his colleagues in the Senate,” spokesman Jon Summers said today in a statement…]

http://blogs.abcnews.com/thenote/2010/03/reid-caring-for-injured-wife-daughter-and-health-care-negotatiations.html

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If you haven’t checked out the Young Women Misbehaving’ website lately, be sure and go there. This month, in honor of Women’s History Month, they have complied a  wonderful list of women who “misbehaved” and made history. Today’s list is HERE.

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If you ever needed proof that the difference between a conservative and an Obat depends on which end of the animal you are feeling, it’s what is going to happen on April 10th on PBS.

Bill Moyers is retiring. PBS is about to replace the “Bill Moyers Journal” with two other shows: One is “Ideas in Action” co-produced by the “George W. Bush Institute” and the other is “Need to Know”, an integrated broadcast and current affairs project.

At a time when we need, more than ever, independent, investigative journalism, and a forum for all, PBS intends not only to substitute the pontifications of a think tank, but those of the distinctly rabid right winged bat kind. I fail to see how this kind of TV viewing can ever be more that Bushian apologists attempting to direct the herd. It’s highly insulting to Moyers’ legacy and to my brain. Even though I’m liberal, I wouldn’t like it any better if this new show were coming from Al Gore’s similar group.

Based on PBS’s current decision making capabilities, I have no idea whether the second show will be any better.

And just to let you know that Bushism is still alive and has the FCC and Public broadcasting in its clutches, there is this tidbit. PBS is also REMOVING David Brancaccio’s “NOW” on April 10th. David has done a fine job of taking over Bill Moyers show, when the Bushians were able to get Moyers removed. David made the show his own.

These two shows have continued to bear the brunt of speaking truths to those in power. Even though the Commission is now weighted 3 Democrats to 2 Republicans, it’s clear that the Obama’s FCC has every intention of directing PBS down the Bush path and continuing the legacy.

Michael Getler is the ombudsman at PBS.ORG. CONTACT HIM HERE.

CONTACT YOUR LOCAL STATION AND TELL THEM TO STOP THIS OUTRAGE!  REMIND THEM IT’S PLEDGE WEEK. IF YOU DO MAKE A PLEDGE, SPECIFY THE PROGRAM.

EMAIL THE FCC COMMISIONERS, AND TELL THEM TO FIX THIS MESS!

Chairman Julius Genachowski: http://www.fcc.gov/commissioners/genachowski/mail.html

Commissioner Michael J. Copps: http://www.fcc.gov/commissioners/copps/mail.html

Commissioner Robert M. McDowell: http://www.fcc.gov/commissioners/mcdowell/mail.html

Commissioner Mignon Clyburn: http://www.fcc.gov/commissioners/clyburn/mail.html

Commissioner Meredith Attwell Baker: http://www.fcc.gov/commissioners/baker/mail.html

WHILE YOU ARE AT IT, CONTACT YOUR LOCAL POLITICIAN!

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I don’t know how you feel about the US/Afghani war, but I want you to ponder this. Today, Dennis Kucinich presented his bill in the House to end the war in 30 days, or, by no later the December 31st, 2010, if conditions on the ground warrant it.  Another 33 billion dollars is about to be budgeted for the military and war effort. That does not include the money being spent from other venues, like the Small Business Administration grant monies to fund mercenaries.

The Bill is labeled: H.Con. Res.248, Directing the President, pursuant to section 5(c) of the War Powers Resolution, to remove the United States Armed Forces from Afghanistan., HERE.

Against this backdrop, Republicans have held up small bills, like the 45 million dollar one that would have been allocated money to support Afghani women, in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee since 2007.

Enter the new administration.

An Afghanistan and Pakistan Regional Stabilization Strategy was issued on January 1st of this year. Senator Boxer wrote President Obama, over her concerns that women were only mentioned once. In February, a revised strategy was issued. Boxer purports that it includes women throughout the strategy. The full strategy can be found HERE. I Found 115 instances of the word “women” on 23 of the 50 pages in the pdf document. Surely, this alone is an improvement, and though women are not specially mentioned in the list of proposed milestones for either country, they are in the Afghani Key Initiatives for agriculture.

Yet, It’s not clear to me at this point exactly how women are to be counted in this document, because I couldn’t find any line items in the report that elucidated direct expenditures to women or women’s groups. It is clear, however, that the State Dept. administration considers women vulnerable; so, some portion of that line item will assuredly go to them. The question is how much, or, is this a sop, designed to placate women?  What kind of movement toward adjudication of half the population of two countries is satisfactory?

In February, Senator Boxer and Senator Casey convened a joint hearing of the Foreign Relations Subcommittee on International Operations and Organizations, Human Rights, Democracy and Global Women’s Issues and on Near Eastern and South and Central Asian Affairs. The hearing was entitled “Afghan Women and Girls: Building the Future of Afghanistan.” Four people were invited to testify.

In her testimony, the Honorable Melanne Verveer, discussed the various ways in which the US is helping to women to change their lives. Then she mentioned that the State Dept was currently supporting four programs, for a total of 2 million dollars, which: “support women’s rights at the local level by engaging religious leaders and local officials to engage in the electoral process and develop women’s participation in local governance.” Another 26.3 million was engaged for small flexible grants to empower Afghan led NGO’s. No other monetary figures are mentioned.

In his testimony, James A. Bever, Director of the USAID Afghani-Pakistan task force, states that they have spent, in Afghanistan, an assistance estimate of 500 million on women and children since 2004, or 50 million a year.

Dr. Sima Samar had much to say on the distance yet to go in order to stabilize Afghanistan, citing lack of health care for women, lack of fundamental rights, and institutions that will train women on human rights democracy and advocacy. However, funding was not mentioned.

Finally, MS, Rachel Reid, for Human right Watch in Afghanistan recognized that 150 million was allocated this year, by the US. At the same time, her statement was the most disturbing, in regards to her views on the Taliban, and President Karzai’s recent moves to reduce women’s rights. While all the testimony was interesting, Reid’s made riveting reading. She also, however, failed to mention funding.

There may be other funding directed to women and children in the State Department’s budget for Afghanistan and Pakistan, but if it really so much more than the 78.3 million this year, mentioned in all that reporting and talking, that I found, you would have thought they would have crowed a heck of a lot louder. The sum of monies in the State Dept spread sheets in their report add up to 22,849.2 million or 22 billion for the years of 2009, 2010 and 2011, of which 3,252.5 million or 3.3 billion is defense related expenditures not counted by the Defense Dept. it’s really a hefty sum, that spreads out pretty equitably over the three years, averaging 8.43 billion.

Of course it’s true that the money is intended for the good of all the Afghani and Pakistani people. Energy projects are a prime example. Still, even though this is an improvement over what came before, it looks like a line item mentality to me, rather than real 51% participation for women.

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Dipnote is hosting a live presentation of the International Woman of Courage Awards TODAY at 3:00 EST, or New York time. Be sure and watch!

International Women of Courage Awards: Watch Live March 10

POSTED BY RUTH BENNETT / MARCH 09, 2010

[About the Author: Ruth Bennett serves as the Public Affairs Advisor for the Secretary’s Office of Global Women’s Issues (S/GWI).

First Lady Michelle Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton will host the annual International Women of Courage Awards on March 10, 2010, at 3:00 p.m. EST at the Department of State. You may watch the ceremony broadcast live on DipNote….]

http://blogs.state.gov/index.php/site/entry/iwoc_awards_watch_live_march_10

The awardees are: Shukria Asil (Afghanistan), Col. Shafiqa Quraishi (Afghanistan), Androula Henriques (Cyprus), Sonia Pierre (Dominican Republic), Shadi Sadr (Iran), Ann Njogu (Kenya), Dr. Lee Ae-ran (Republic of Korea), Jansila Majeed (Sri Lanka), Sister Marie Claude Naddaf (Syria), and Jestina Mukoko (Zimbabwe).

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So, what’s up with all the Adam Gadahn stories? I’m sitting here looking at my home town paper, that ran the AP story of his capture on March 7th. Even ABC put a story out. Now, the WH is playing word games.  Might almost make a person think someone “disappeared” him.

Gaggle by Deputy Press Secretary Bill Burton aboard Air Force One en route Willow Grove, Pennsylvania, 3/8/10
Aboard Air Force One
En Route Willow Grove, Pennsylvania
10:25 A.M. EST
[…Q    On Pakistan, what has the President been updated on in terms of this American that’s been detained there?
MR. BURTON:  Well, we haven’t confirmed any detainments, and I would refer you to the Pakistani government for information about individuals that they’ve detained.

Q    Has he been getting updates, though, on these reports that it could have been Gadahn and now they’ve backed off that?
MR. BURTON:  I assure you that the President gets regular updates about what intelligence there is about people who are detained and what’s happening in the fight against extremists all over the world….]

http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/gaggle-deputy-press-secretary-bill-burton-aboard-air-force-one-en-route-willow-grov

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Been There…

Oh, joy.

As person who can get motion sick swimming in a pool, don’t expect me to come over to watch the football game on THIS.

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Lighting a candle for the folks in Turkey today.

Quake Topples Homes in Eastern Turkey, Kills 51

[A strong earthquake struck villages in eastern Turkey Monday, killing at least 51 people.The government initially said 57 people had died, but later lowered the death toll to 51.  It gave no explanation for the change. The 6.0 magnitude earthquake hit Elazig province before dawn, sending residents rushing into the streets….]

http://www1.voanews.com/english/news/usa/At-Least-57-Killed-as-Quake-Strikes-Eastern-Turkey-86783302.html

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International Women’s day is a natural fit to Women’s History Month in the US. The UN states that March 8th, 2010 “marks the 15th anniversary of the adoption of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, the outcome of the Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing in 1995.” The theme this year is “Equal Rights, Equal Opportunities: Progress for All”. A history of the day, which the UN traces back to 1909 in the US, as an anniversary to the 1908 NY garment workers strike, can be found at their site HERE.

If you are interested, the UN has a long list of  documentation regarding their 15 year review and appraisal of women’s and girls progress. It can be found HERE.

The conference, meetings and events for this review have been ongoing since March 1st and will continue through the 12th of March. The UN is sponsoring a Webcast of events, and several are scheduled for Monday, March 8th, the  earliest, between 10:00AM and 3:00 PM EST, HERE

It seems a lifetime ago that Hillary Rodham Clinton; now, Secretary of State Clinton, with other forward souls, went to Beijing and developed the benchmarks for women’s progress that would take us into this century. It seems three lifetimes ago that a younger naive woman like me assumed that the ERA would pass, and we women would be equal citizens of the United States. I am hopeful still. And determined.  And, when the rage strikes me, I remind myself that it is the journey, rather than the goal, that makes us who we are.

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