Smart Girls Who Do Stupid Things


It Looks Like House Republicans Have Decided It’s Not Okay to Hit Women, Again

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(Flickr/Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights)

The reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act reached a new low (or high, depending on your point of view) Tuesday, as Republicans in the House announced that they’d introduce a new, less far-reaching version of the Act already passed by the Senate, reports Talking Points Memo. Except this time, if the bill fails to pass, they’ll just vote on the version that made it through the Senate.

The difference between the two bills comes down to whether gay and lesbian victims of domestic violence would be clearly labeled as eligible for protection from domestic violence (the version passed by the Senate includes such language; the one proposed by House Republicans does not). It also specifically calls out acts that occur in Native American communities and cases involving illegal immigrants. TPM says:

“The big admission implicit in this latest move is that House GOP leaders don’t believe they have the votes to pass their version of the bill but that the Senate version is likely to pass the chamber. So this way they’ll give House conservatives the first bite at the apple as a way of saving face and still resolve an issue that has hurt them politically.”

A Democratic aide in the House also went as far to focus on Speaker of the House John Boehner for attempting “to appease the crazy wing of his party,” painting this forthcoming loss as yet another sign that party unity is not working anymore. As the New York Times reported in early 2012, the slow movement surrounding the reauthorization of this bill sits in sharp contrast to the many renewals the Violence Against Women Act received over the years since it was introduced in 1994.

There’s been a great deal of attention to the illegal immigration and gay rights aspects of this bill, but author Louise Erdich wrote in an op-ed focusing on the part of the act that would protect tribal women. “What seems like dry legislation can leave Native women at the mercy of their predators or provide a slim margin of hope for justice,” she wrote. “As a Cheyenne proverb goes, a nation is not conquered until the hearts of its women are on the ground.”

Sorry, Tina Fey and Amy Poehler Won’t Ever Host The Oscars

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Perhaps realizing they had some valuable information they’d better get out as quickly as possible so as not to miss the peg, the Huffington Post published part of their interview with Tina Fey for her new movie with Paul Rudd Admission. Though author Mike Ryan notes that, “The full interview with Fey will publish closer to the film’s March 22nd release date,” the important, non-promotional stuff is available now.

Ryan first congratulates Fey on what she calls being “Shatnered” (her term for William Shatner’s mention of her name during the awards ceremony) and then asks her if she and BFFL and fellow Golden Globes badass Amy Poehler would ever consider hosting the Big Show, considering how they did with the Globes (and how poorly Seth MacFarlane did in comparison). She said:

“I just feel like that gig is so hard. Especially for, like, a woman — the amount of months that would be spent trying on dresses alone … no way.”

It’s interesting that Fey specifically draws attention the most female aspect of her and Poehler’s performances, especially given that MacFarlane’s was derided as so hopelessly male in its insensitivity to women. Whether on purpose or by accident, Fey points out that even if she were to host the Oscars, it’d be a totally different show in that the type of performance she’d be expected to give – down to appearances – would very un-male.

Ryan also expresses his own disappointment at Fey’s decision to not even consider the Oscars:

It’s disappointing to hear, “No way.” I was hoping for at least “a one in a million chance.”
I wish I could tell you there was.

Ah well. Since Poehler hasn’t spoken up yet, we can still hold out a little hope for her.


Read Gloria Steinem’s Journalistic Lowpoint About Textured Stockings

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PBS and AOL’s joint documentary-slash-video series on the history of the feminist movement, Makers, premiered Tuesday night, and of course, there are plenty of good, never-heard-before stories about how terrible it used to be to be a woman. In one of her interviews, Gloria Steinem discusses the worst article she ever wrote:

“When it came to assignments as a freelance writer, I was assigned things about fashion and food and make-up and babies. Or – the low-point in my life – textured stockings. When I delivered the articles to my editor at the Sunday Times magazine, he generally gave me a choice: either I could go to a hotel room with him in the afternoon, or mail his letters on the way out. Needless to say, I mailed the letters. But I just assumed I had to put up with this.”

Here’s the article she’s talking about, found by Hope Dellon and queried for by The New Yorker‘s Emily Nussbaum. In it, we learn first and foremost that “1964 is officially The Year of the Leg.” It’s an article that is perhaps the most thorough look at stockings ever written outside of a history book. Steinem may have hated writing about “colored lace, floral prints, elastic fishnet, plaid wool, knitted cables, Klee-like abstract prints, alpaca knee socks, thigh-high tweed, hand-painted jersey tights, camel’s hair spatterdashes, metallic threaded anklet’s and stretch-knight hose adorned with polka dots the size of rouge pots,” but she definitely made the topic compelling.

Steinem’s issues with the Times don’t end there; in another Makers video, she remarks upon how long it took the newspaper to start referring to women as “Ms.” and not “Mrs.”, even if they were single. When the paper finally switched, she and other feminist activists took flowers to the editor at the time, Abe Rosenthal. “He said the most infuriating single thing, which was, ‘Oh, if I’d known this mattered so much to you, I would have done it a long time ago,'” says Steinem, laughing a bit.

The best part of the whole thing might be Steinem’s bio for the piece, which reads much less like something you’d see in the Times and more like something you’d read on a modern day blog:
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Bloomberg-backed Robin Kelly Wins Democratic Nomination for Jesse Jackson Jr.’s Congressional Seat

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Former Illinois legislator Robin Kelly won Tuesday night’s Democratic primary in Illinois’ 2nd congressional district, reports The Associated Press. She’ll face the winner of the Republican primary in the general election on April 9, but since it’s a heavily Democratic area, it won’t be much of a fight.

The race for Jackson’s former seat has been, well, defined by race, in a neighborhood of Chicago that has been under the spotlight lately; New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg spent huge sums of money to ensure that Kelly, a pro-gun control candidate, would win the election. Despite the national attention, low voter turnout was expected in Tuesday’s election, with inclement weather not helping matters.

Coincidentally, on Tuesday, the Chicago Tribune reported that Jackson Jr., who resigned from his seat before being indicted for taking $750,000 from his campaign funds to buy everything from Bruce Lee memorabilia to Michael Jackson’s fedora, is writing a book:

One of the Tribune’s sources, who has seen drafts of portions of the memoir, said Jackson was trying to “clear up his legacy.”

“He has nothing else to do right now,” the source said. “He’s desperately trying to change the narrative of his life story.”

This isn’t Jackson’s first time putting pen to page; he previously co-wrote the now-ironically titled It’s About the Money: The Fourth Movement of the Freedom Symphony: How to Build Wealth, Get Access to Capital, and Achieve Your Financial Dreams with his father Jesse Jackson Sr. As Tribune columnist John Kass notes, “Clearly, Junior didn’t read his own words.”

Some of the highlights, according to Kass’ rare copy of the book, include: “Don’t spend money just for pleasure; use it to build wealth and, in so doing, acquire power to manage and control your life.”


1144641 “Rich people tend to have certain habits that poor people would do well to emulate. For  example, rich people understand that you shouldn’t fritter away your money on such baubles as cars and clothes, which quickly depreciate in value.”

But it’s race, not wealth, that seem to haunt all of Jackson’s choices, and the legacy of his  neighborhood. Kass’ piece touches upon this, when he remarks that he and an African-American colleague were surprised about Jackson’s decision to spend campaign funds on a stuffed and mounted elk heads:

“The elk heads bother me,” said my colleague Old School. “What black people buy elk heads as a symbol of stature?”

“I know a lot of black people,” said Old School, who has been African-American his entire life. “And not one person I know puts elk heads on the wall.”

Other Jackson Jr. books include A More Perfect Union: Advancing New American rights, a book meant to provide “insightful analysis of the inextricable link between race and economics,” and Legal Lynching: The Death Penalty and America’s Future. For a man so consumed by race, wealth and violence, Jackson provided few answers to these problems. If anything, he was merely a great example of a community defined by all of those factors.

And as for Bloomberg, he’s moved on, with meetings in Washington D.C. Wednesday with Senators McCain and Reid and Vice President Biden. He did remark on the Kelly win, calling it a “victory for common sense leadership on gun violence.”

Scott Schuman Has A Really Good Brow Furrow

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scott nodding

He’s also really good at nodding while being serious.

A Valentine


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