Thursday, March 12, 2009

Oh, Fickle Young Love...

The recent media coverage plaguing the Palin family is the news of Bristol Palin and Levi Johnston's break up. According to several news sources, the break up happened a couple weeks ago for unknown reasons, but only became public knowledge in the past couple of days. There is speculation Bristol broke it off with her fiance but there is no conclusive evidence as of yet. Some claim Bristol is heartbroken while others claim she is fine. Levi's sister, Mercede, has been quoted as saying: "Levi tries to visit Tripp every single day, but Bristol makes it nearly impossible. She tells him he can't take the baby to our house because she doesn't want him around 'white trash'!" While we can deduce this might have played a role in the split, it seems that Levi will continue to maintain a fatherly role in two month old Tripp's life.

Many claim to have seen this coming from the very beginning, so I have to wonder if Bristol and Levi were fooling themselves for the sake of Sarah Palin's image on the campaign trail? In trying to empathize with the single parents, though, let's drop the subject.

Yahoo featured a blog which gave Bristol advice in her new role as a single mother. Among the advice were "Reach out to other single parents" and "Embrace the family you have, not the family you envisioned." I found this blog very touching, because instead of poking fun at the recent developments, the post asked for others to contribute words of wisdom. What would you do in her situation?

The post also drew attention to the fact that there are over 13 million single parents out there, and that there has been a 3% upswing in teenage pregnancy. From 1991 to 2005 the number of teenage pregnancies was decreasing, but in 2006 it began to inch back up again. I wonder what caused this to occur? The blog blames the omnipresence of sex in the media, but with great sexual education I do not think sexual liberality can be blamed.

On a completely random note, how unfortunate is it that the split has left Levi with a tattoo of "Bristol" on his ring finger? Dating rule 101 could quite possibly be "Never tattoo someone's name on your body." I suppose he learned his lesson the hard way.

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First Female President: Barack Obama

When reflecting on this course, I noted that we subconsciously defined gender to be about women.  This is very similar to the idea behind race, that is, a white person does not have to deal with race, just as men do not have to deal with gender.
Obviously, this makes little sense, as male is a sex just as much as female is.  
And yes, there is a distinct difference between sex and gender, but the concept still applies.
I therefore decided to look at the males in the election, and stumbled on this article in Newsweek.
The author first notes that this is not the first time that a president's values, actions, and persona have emulated a person in a different role or category.  He sites former president Bill Clinton as the "first black president" due to his penchant for playing the saxophone and his display of "almost every trope of blackness"
He goes on to say that Barack Obama seemed to be playing a traditional female role.
Obama doesn't play the sax. But he is pushing against conventional- and political party nominating convention-wisdom in five important ways, with approaches that are usually though of as qualities and values that women bring to organizational life: a commitment to inclusiveness in problem solving, deep optimism, modesty about knowing all the answers, the courage to deliver uncomfortable news, not taking all the work alone, and a willingness to air dry linen.
However, the campaign is over, and the authority with which Obama has taken office has shown that his not one to be trifled with.  Perhaps this has made him appear more masculine, but I believe that it is his willingness to accept these gender stereotypes as part of his own that he has been able to pass the stimulus bill and get a strongly divided congress to agree on so many other matters.
Perhaps America does need a female president, and for right now, his name is Barack Obama

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

What Sarah Palin's Email Got Hacked?

Yes its true, as i was browsing online for any recent information about Sarah Palin I came across a couple of articles saying that Sarah Palin's email had been hacked. Last September 2008, a group that called themselves, Anonymous, found a way to hack themselves into Sarah Palin's Yahoo email account. They got hold of two emails, a contact list, and a couple of family pictures and displayed them on a website. Supposedly according to another article, Sarah Palin in the past had been criticized for using web mail rather then official government servers, and so this in return as backfired on her. McCain on the other hand sent out a statement after he had heard what had happened:

This is a shocking invasion of the governor's privacy and a violation of law, the matter has been turned over to the appropriate authorities and we hope that anyone in possession of these emails will destroy them.

Apparently Time said that Sarah Palin herself could face charges for "conducting official state business with her personal email." However this investigation is yet to be solve. The secret service along with FBI are in search of more emails and anymore people in possession of the emails. Sarah Palin came to find that her email had been hacked by her aide who received the following email:

This email was hacked by anonymous, but I took no part in that. I simply got the password back, and changed it so no further damage could be done. Please get in contact with Sarah Palin and inform her the new password on this account is samsonite1.Thank you and best wishes,the good anonymous

In my opinion this is ridiculous how low can people get. Getting into someones account, especially Sarah Palin's you have got to know that you in return are going to get into big trouble with the police. But then again why didn't Sarah Palin use the official government website? Something like a yahoo account should be a no brainer that it is most likely going to get hacked. But I could be wrong, what do you think?

Obama's Stimulus Plan Won't Help Women

Barack Obama’s proposed stimulus package that intends on creating 2.5 million jobs over the next two years sounds too good to be true. His proposal has fired up a number of feminists who believe this package will be of limited help to women. Unfortunately, women in the work force will not receive the same economic boost from this package that men will. In Obama plans on investing in road and bridge maintenance and school repair to create jobs and at the same time reduce energy use thus decreasing the affects on global warming.

 The downside of his road to recovery that has many females up in arms is the way in which the program will provide jobs for male dominated industries. He wants to create more building projects which will generate jobs in construction, where women make up only 9 percent of the workforce. Obama also wants to increase green jobs, which lone behold is almost entirely male. A study conducted by the United States Conference of Mayors discovered that half the projected new jobs in any green area will be in either of the following areas: engineering, a field consisting of 12 percent female, manufacturing, agriculture and forestry. 

Today women constitute approximately 46 percent of the labor force, and something needs to be adjusted in his plans to include jobs in female dominated fields. Obama can easily include opportunities for economic growth for females by concentrating on professions that build upon human capital such as social workers, child careers’, teachers, and librarians. All these fields consist of 75 to 95 percent females. Many of these areas of work are included in Obama’s campaign promises. Some may argue that women should participate more in the fields of engineering and construction, but their are programs out there that encourage women to pursue careers in these areas of work and they have had little success.

            One well-known feminists in particular, Barbara Bergmann, decided to take a stand. She wrote a letter calling for a package that would do more for women. Her letter, addressed to Obama, began by applauding his noble intentions but turned to address the way in which the package will segregate women and only benefit males. She suggested three lines of action to insure a fair playing field for women as well. They read:

"1. Revive and enforce the Labor Department regulations that require government contractors to institute affirmative action plans that provide a share of the jobs for women and minorities. Closely monitor the contractors for compliance.

2. In connection with the infrastructure projects, institute apprenticeships, and ensure that at least one third of the positions go to women.

3. Add projects in health, child care, education, social service that will both provide jobs to women, and also provide needed services to them."

I agree with the actions Barbara has suggested. Recent research has shown that women’s employment has become more vulnerable to recessions than in the past. After the 2001 recession, for example, women's employment rates never returned to their pre-recession levels. Before, recessions tended to hit men's jobs harder than women's, but in the 2001 recession, that changed, and this pattern is expected to continue.

Hopefully, more women will stand up and in turn influence Obama to include more opportunities for women in his stimulus package. I believe we deserve the same benefits that males will receive from this package.



A Fortunate and Surprising Surge of Prospective Women Senators

I recently stumbled upon this "Politico" article by Josh Kraushaar called, "Female Candidates Line Up for 2010." Apparently the mixed gender in the 2008 election caused a spark in female confidence and support, which I think is great! The article explains that there are many female candidates, mostly Democrats, who are planning to run for Senate in 2010. This looks as if it may cause change in the chamber which currently only has 17 women senators. Karen O' Connor, the director of the Women and Politics Institute at American University, says that, "it really is a landmark year because there's a farm team have mayors, congresswomen, secretaries of state; they're waiting in the wings and they're not going to sit back any longer." Reading this excites me because it really shows that our class topic is relevant. The gender in this past election did cause a wave, not only of surprise, but also of support and identification for women.

The woman in the picture above is Carly Florina, former Hewlett-Packard CEO and McCain economic adviser. She is looking to run against Barbara Boxer for the Senate seat here in California. There is a slew of other women that are running in different states, and they list all of these determined women in the "Politico" article. O'Connor, whom I mentioned earlier, explains that female candidates have a better track record in elections when the economy is a main issue. This said, the United States should be looking to elect more females in the years to come. Jonathan Parker, EMILY'S List political director, tell us that "when kitchen-table issues are at the forefront, voters recognize it’s women in so many households across America that deal with these issues. That will resonate with a certain segment of voters." Although it is nice that this view will cause more women support, I don't think that it is the only factor affecting this increased support.

The 2008 election allowed us women to see how far we have come and after reading this article, I am sure that it inspired women to want to achieve greatness, not only in politics, but simply in general. Martha McKenna, who is a recruiter as political director of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, said that, "it’s becoming more and more common for the strongest candidate to be a woman, and that’s a good thing for the party and the country.” I anticipate the 2010 elections; hopefully the Senate will be a tad more gender-balanced after that, and the demonstration of increased female support will cause a snowball effect of equality!

Obama Creates White House Council for Women

Today, Obama created a White House Council for women, which I believe is a big step for women all across the United States. The purpose of the new panel is to analyze how the government's policies will impact females. This panel will be headed by Valerie Jarret, who is a senior adviser to President Obama. Valerie Jarrett is a very powerful and influential women from Chicago, and a loyal supporter of Obama. During the primaries against Clinton, Jarret described one of the challenges Obama campaign's faced was “to introduce him to the American people so that they can see what the Women around him (Obama) know”.

Photo of Valerie Jarret

In a speech to introduce the Council, Obama stated that “It's up to us to carry on that hope, to ensure that our daughters and granddaughters have no limits on their greatness, no obstacles to their achievements, that they have opportunities that their mothers, their grandmother and great-grandmothers never dreamed of".

Obama also said that “I sign this order not just as a president, but as a son, a grandson, a husband and a father. These issues are not just women's issues. When women make less than men for the same work, it hurts families who find themselves with less income and have to work harder just to get by."

Here's the link of the news article for more info on the new White house Council.

We already saw a preview of Obama's interest in shattering the glass ceiling in the passing of the Lilly Ledbetter law, which created a policy of a woman's right to equal pay for equal work. I believe that the new White House Council for women is one of the first steps Obama will take to finish shattering the glass ceiling which Hillary left undone. This Council is a big deal in that it shows the amount of dedication the Obama administration is willing to put into women's rights. Who knows, maybe the White House Council for Women will help the Obama administration shatter the glass ceiling.

Solidarity among women--as reflected in common supporters of Clinton and Gillibrand

Read Nicholas Confessore's story in today's NYT, "Old Clinton Hands Line up Behind Gillibrand." It reports that many Hillary Rodham Clinton staffers and supporters are now working with or for Kirsten Gillibrand, who was appointed to fill the U.S. Senate vacancy for New York after Clinton resigned to become Secretary of State.

The story features this quote from Karen Finney, who was a deputy press secretary for HRC in the White House and who is now an advisor to Ms. Gillibrand: “Kirsten has inspired the band to get back together ... It’s nice to be working for another great woman from New York.”

Here's an excerpt from deeper in the story, amidst many examples of women supporting Gillibrand:

Ms. Gillibrand’s back-to-back campaigns will also provide an outlet to the energies and enthusiasms of Mrs. Clinton’s ardent grass-roots supporters, especially in feminist circles.

One member of Ms. Gillibrand’s kitchen cabinet, for example, is Ann Lewis, a longtime Clinton confidante and a senior adviser on the presidential campaign. Ms. Lewis recently launched, a Web site and blog, to allow Mrs. Clinton’s supporters to network and stay in touch.

One Clinton supporter who spoke on the condition of anonymity said:
Hard-core Hillary supporters are fully expecting her to run again in 2016 ... That is one reality. Kirsten is a more local reality. But for folks in New York, she gives them a focus.