Pakistani children pray for the recovery of 14-year-old schoolgirl Malala Yousufzai during a candlelight vigil in Karachi, Pakistan, Friday.
While 14-year-old Malala Yousafzai remained in the hospital recovering from a gun shot to the head, fellow school children in Pakistan gathered Friday to offer prayers for her recovery.
Yousafzai was targeted and shot by gunmen Tuesday on a school bus in Pakistan under order of the Taliban because of her outspokenness on education for girls and against the Taliban. She had previously blogged for the BBC on these issues under a pseudonym. Three suspects were arrested.
The prayers in schools and other places across Pakistan on October 12 are in response to a call by the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa provincial government for people around the nation to express solidarity with Yousafzai.
Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf is due to visit Yousafzai on October 12 as the gravely wounded schoolgirl recovers in a military hospital in Rawalpindi.
Pakistani Muslims pray for the early recovery of child activist Malala Yousafzai during Friday prayers in Karachi on October 12. Pakistanis at mosques across the country prayed Friday for the recovery of the schoolgirl shot in the head by the Taliban as doctors said the next two days were critical.
In a powerful three-point punch to her opponent Todd Akin's damning remarks on "legitimate rape," Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill released a blitz of TV spots featuring testimonials from rape survivors.
One ad features Diana—a self-described Republican, pro-life mother, and rape survivor. Another stars Rachel who shares how she was "brutally raped in a home invasion." A third highlights Joanie, another pro-life mother and survivor of an "extremely violent sexual assault."
All three women are uniting with McCaskill to take down Akin in the Missouri Senate race.
"What Todd Akin said was offensive, but what he believes is worse," Diana says in the ad. "I have never voted for Claire McCaskill. But because of Todd Akin, I will now."
With just four weeks left in the general election, McCaskill is directly hitting Akin on his now infamous remarks that rape victims are able to "shut that whole thing down," in a bid to exemplify not only his character, but the types of policy he would be inclined to initiate. Akin has already voiced opposition to emergency contraceptives—with no exceptions for cases of rape or incest—and McCaskill leaves the door open on the implications for victims of sexual assault.
"Todd Akin apologized for implying there is such a thing as legitimate rape," Joanie says in one TV spot. "He may have misspoken, but I believe he showed his true colors and his true intent of what he intends to do if elected."
"As a woman of faith, I must forgive Todd Akin," Joanie adds. "But as a voter, it's not something I can forget."
Two months ago, Missouri Congressman Todd Akin made headlines for insisting that women who are victims of "legitimate rape" can't get pregnant. That instance outed the Republican Senate candidate as dangerously uninformed at best, and sexist at worst.
It's enough to expect that such incendiary bombast occurs once in a person's political tenure. But Amanda Marcotte over at Slate unearthed a video from 2008 of Akin on the house floor making yet an even more outlandishly mendacious remark (emphasis mine):
"You find that along with the culture of death go all kinds of other law-breaking: Not following good sanitary procedure, giving abortions to women who are not actually pregnant, cheating on taxes, all these kinds of things."
"All of these things are common practice," Akin continued, "but all of that information is available for America."
"Well, first of all, the premise of your question is that I'm making that particular distinction. I believe in free enterprise. I don't think the government should be telling people what you pay and what you don't pay. I think it's about freedom. If someone what’s to hire somebody and they agree on a salary, that's fine, however it wants to work. So, the government sticking its nose into all kinds of things has gotten us into huge trouble."
According to two polls, Rasmussen and Public Policy Polling, McCaskill is up by six points in their face-off. That's feeling too close for comfort.
On Monday, our friends at "The Rachel Maddow Show" took a fresh look at Akin's comment on the Ledbetter Act. See it below.
Rachel Maddow describes how, after shunning Todd Akin for his "legitimate rape" remarks, Republicans have renewed their support for their candidate against Senator Claire McCaskill, a move they may regret as Akin continues to make outrageous statements, implicating them by association.
The Planned Parenthood Action Fund (PPAF) continued its campaign against Mitt Romney’s presidential bid by holding a pre-debate rally in Denver October 2.
Mitt Romney and President Obama will take part in their first one-on-one presidential debate Wednesday, October 3, in Denver.
The organization, which has been advertising in the state in the lead up to the debate, hosted the rally at the Auraria Campus in downtown Denver with local officials, such as Senator Michael Bennet and Rep. Diana DeGette, university students, and PPAF president Cecile Richards.
About 200 attended the rally, according to a PPAF spokesman.
The centerpiece of the health organization’s current Colorado push is highlighting the group's national “Ask Mitt” online campaign in which participants were asked to submit questions for Mitt Romney via online and Twitter and then vote on their favorites, such as, “When are you going to address the fact that family planning is an economic issue?”
PPAF is pressing Romney on his stance on abortion, health care, funding for its health care arm, Planned Parenthood, and women’s rights in general.
“We’ve had thousands of women and men write in questions that they’d like to have Mr. Romney answer,” explained Richards on MSNBC Wednesday. “What is his plan for women? It seems to us he really is committed to rolling back the clock on women’s access to health care.”
Online, mobile, and TV advertising promoted the effort. “While you’re here in Colorado, I hope you’ll answer a few questions,” begins the TV ad.
The organization, which is the political arm of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, endorsed President Obama for re-election earlier this year.
Obama leads Romney 50% to 45% among likely voters in Colorado, according to a September 20 NBC News/Marist/Wall Street Journal poll.
Trend pieces are somewhat of a plague of modern political writing. I'm disheartened, in particular, by the ones featuring young Republicans telling us how socially liberal they are. They generally follow the same formula:
conservatives in their twenties talk about how they aren't anti-abortion, or against marriage equality;
they express hope that today's Republican politicians can stay clear of the culture war;
and then they finish off by talking about how, reservations be damned, they still support those candidates. Wash, rinse, repeat.
But even if none of them are particularly original, today's version in the New York Times proved somewhat useful, given simply the timing of its publication. See first, for reference, the quote below:
“Social issues are far down the priorities list, and I think that’s the trend,” [Matt] Hoagland, 27, said. “That’s where it needs to go if the Republican Party is going to be successful.”
(And the "Endorsed by Lech Walesa" screen title needs to be a meme already. Make that happen, Internet.)
But back to the point: are there more Catholics, than say, women? That was what was always so curious to me about that attack; under the guise of being religiously principled about birth control and abortion, Republicans sought to exploit religion for votes, without considering the collateral damage they were doing with women. And re-launching the attack the day after President Obama is introduced by Sandra Fluke in a state where a personhood amendment is under consideration stakes out a certain ground in the debate. Problem is for Republicans, is this a debate they should still be having?
Is this a case of being so committed to eroding women's rights and reproductive freedoms that they don't care what wins elections -- or deluded by past successes with this tactic that they think it'll work in 2012? Plus, we saw how well that worked for Newt Gingrich in the primaries; why would Romney follow his lead, in August?
I'd venture that some of those young conservatives interviewed by the Times are annoyed that Romney is even bothering with this. Another quote, from the vice president of the University of Arizona's College Republicans:
“I would prefer that Mitt Romney leave social issues sort of alone, because I do disagree with him on those things...He keeps saying that the first things he’ll tackle are health care and the economy, and I hope he tackles the economy. I’m graduating in a couple years, and it’s pretty dismal where I am.”
There are some fairly good reasons why Romney wouldn't want to talk about money right now, chief among them the mysterious tax returns he stubbornly refuses to open up to public view. But add to that no job plan to speak of, and a tax policy that hearkens back to Max Shreck's power plant idea in Batman Returns -- and now, a welfare attack exposed as a naked lie. It's easy to get why Romney would dredge up culture-war discussions no one has been having for months, especially given how it went for the last guy to go full bore on it.
And given all that, it is curious why young Republicans like the ones in this trend piece continue to support Romney, given that he's not offering solutions on issues they care about, and harping about culture-war stuff they've supposedly left behind.
Irin Carmon of Salonwrote about the President, Sandra Fluke, and the Colorado personhood initiative yesterday, and appeared later that night on "The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell," speaking about it with guest host Alex Wagner. See the video below.
Wednesday, Susan G. Komen's founder, Nancy Brinker, stepped down from her position as CEO just months after the breast cancer organization's Planned Parenthood controversy. MSNBC's Alex Wagner and Salon.com's Irin Carmon discuss how contentious women's issues will impact the election.
U.S. District Judge Daniel P. Jordan III, a George W. Bush appointee, extended the temporary restraining order against an anti-abortion bill that, once enforced, would require any licensed abortion provider to be an OB-GYN with privileges to admit patients to a local hospital. Jordan had blocked the law from going into effect at the start of this month, but he has yet to say for how long that hold would remain in place.
The extension temporarily prevents Mississippi's lone abortion clinic, the Jackson Women's Health Organization, from being forced to close its doors. The clinic has been combating conservative efforts to effectively ban legal abortions through a technicality, and argues that it would face "irreparable harm" should the law go into place. The clinic's two out of state OB-GYNs have yet to be granted hospital privileges and say local hospitals have yet to respond to requests.
"If they're denied or if the hospitals are dragging their feet, that's going to be more clear evidence that there's a substantial obstacle," clinic attorney Robert McDuff said.
One of last week's most riveting and well-received conversations on "MHP" took place on Saturday, when Egyptian-American journalist Mona Eltahawy joined Melissa to discuss her powerful and controversial cover story for Foreign Policy magazine, "Why Do They Hate Us?" The article detailed the many ways in which misogyny and the abuse of women and their rights has become systemic in the Arab Muslim world:
An entire political and economic system -- one that treats half of humanity like animals -- must be destroyed along with the other more obvious tyrannies choking off the region from its future. Until the rage shifts from the oppressors in our presidential palaces to the oppressors on our streets and in our homes, our revolution has not even begun.
Anything as blunt and forceful as Eltahawy's essay was will never be without its detractors. Leila Ahmed, a Harvard Divinity School professor who voiced her disagreement also in Foreign Policy, joined the discussion in its second half.
Read the article, take a look at this, and let us know your thoughts so we can continue the conversation. See you at 10am ET!
Mona Eltahawy shares her article "Why Do They Hate Us?" featured in Foreign Policy Magazine that challenges how men in the Muslim world treat women. Harvard professor Leila Ahmed later joins to debate her criticisms with the article.
It is hard to think of anything in the public sphere that is thought of as "outside of politics" that is quite as political as sports -- particularly when it comes to the issue of gender. Whether or not you follow them casually, closely, or not at all, I'd like to think that you can appreciate the history made in the Title IX era by legendary figures like Pat Summitt, who stepped down last week after 38 seasons coaching women's basketball at the University of Tennessee. Our discussion last week aimed at bringing out the larger political and social significance for everyone.
Last Saturday, Kathrine Switzer, the first woman to officially run the Boston Marathon, headed up a lineup of trailblazers of past and present to talk about where women's sports go from here. ESPN columnist Jemele Hill, Salon writer Rebecca Traister, and the co-founder of Black Girls Run, Ashley Hicks, were all a part of an engrossing conversation with Melissa that was accessible to all. Take a look at our Good Look.
The Melissa Harris-Perry panelists - including ESPN columnist Jemele Hill, Black Girls Run co-founder Ashley Hicks, and the first woman to run in the Boston Marathon, Kathrine Switzer - honor the achievements made by female athletes and the road ahead for women's sports.
President Obama's trip last week to Colombia for the sixth Summit of the Americas wasn't much of a success, and that's speaking strictly of the event itself. As the New York Times reported upon its conclusion on Sunday, the summit ended without any significant agreements. While the President refused to agree to have the next summit in Cuba (thus avoiding angering Cuban-Americans), he ticked off labor here in the States by giving Colombia a free pass for its violent opposition to unions -- a free pass that cleared the way for a free-trade agreement with the summit host nation.
A week ago today, 11 Secret Service agents and uniformed officers all solicited prostitutes in Cartagena, where they were working in advance of the President's arrival. The primary reason we know about this -- or at least, found out this quickly -- is because one of the prostitutes got angry with two of the agents, who demanded that she split her fee to service the two of them. The fact that prostitution is legal in many areas of Colombia is also a contributing factor, considering that that same prostitute complained to a police officer, and the police later contacted the U.S. Embassy. Cue the latest American political sex scandal.
The U.S. State Department has taken a strong stance against international prostitution, saying it is “inherently harmful, dehumanizing and fuels trafficking in persons.” In its 2007 Trafficking in Persons Report, the State Department found that Colombia is one of the Western Hemisphere’s “major source countries for women and girls trafficked abroad for the purpose of commercial sexual exploitation.”
This is a growing problem in not just in Colombia, but throughout Latin America, and it's alarming to see how Republicans' first response to this has been to exploit it for political gain. As the investigation continues into the incident, some on the Right are doing their best to pin this on the President. Some in the media are concern-trolling. One writer from the Washington Times managed to combine both approaches, pointing to the recent GSA hot-tub episode and this Secret Service debacle -- the latter of which may have put the President's life in danger -- and demanding that he apologize.
"This story is as old as mankind, where you have enemies using women to go into a security zone and try to obtain secret information … it was the height of irresponsibility to allow anyone into that zone of security."
That may be so, and King's concerns may even be valid -- but we also can't ignore how sex trafficking contributes to the environment which created this scandal in the first place.
Update, 6:09pm: Three Secret Service agents implicated in this behavior are being "forced out of the agency," per NBC News. Read more here.
As noted earlier: our segment on sex trafficking, which included Academy Award-winning actress Mira Sorvino and GEMS executive director Rachel Lloyd, is embedded below. Please take the time to watch this.
Actress Mira Sorvino, a Goodwill Ambassador, and Rachel Lloyd, executive director of Girls Educational Mentoring Services, join Melissa Harris Perry as they shine light on child sex-trafficking and the policies that criminalize the victims of the vicious cycle. Rev. Dr. Katherine Henderson and Liz McDougall, General Counsel for Village Voice Media, later enter the conversation as it shifts to the outrage against The Village Voice for its website, Backpage.com, that critics allege facilitates child sex-trafficking.
But less than a week after that protest, the Legislature in that same state passed arguably the most restrictive anti-abortion legislation we've seen since the Great Republican Takeover of 2010™. Of course, The Great Republican Overreach of 2011™ is what followed that -- and in Arizona, they're going beyond so-called "fetal pain" bills like Nebraska's, which outlaw abortions not 20 weeks into the actual pregnancy.
It seems that's soft by Arizona standards.
Last Thursday, their state House passed HB 2036, which would make abortions illegal after those 20 weeks -- but what matters most is when those 20 weeks begin. Confused, fellas? Kate Sheppard of Mother Jonesbreaks it down:
...reproductive rights advocates point out that Arizona's law would actually be more restrictive than others, as the bill states that the gestational age of the fetus should be "calculated from the first day of the last menstrual period of the pregnant woman..."
Most women ovulate about 14 or 15 days after their period starts, and women can usually get pregnant from sexual intercourse that occurred anywhere between five days before ovulation and a day after it. Arizona's law would start the clock at a woman's last period—which means, in practice, that the law prohibits abortion later than 18 weeks after a woman actually becomes pregnant.
I've heard a pregnancy referred to as a "blessing" many times, and as a Christian, I'm not inclined to disagree. But the idea that laws like this are designed to protect such "blessings" is questionable. And I'm being kind.
Amanda Marcotte,writing in RH Reality Check today, points out what is evident with much of the Republican-led state and federal legislation we've seen just since 2010: this isn't about preventing abortion so much as it is about combining legal authority with moral, and then using both to restrict women's sex lives:
Now with this Arizona bill, if a woman is deemed pregnant two weeks before she actually is, prosecutors could even have a chance to look at your choices when you weren’t even pregnant---before you even had the sex that made you pregnant---and blame those choices for bad outcomes. They’re creating, brick by brick, the legal basis on which to prosecute a woman who drinks some alcohol, becomes pregnant two weeks later, and miscarries, even though she didn’t drink while pregnant. And you best believe that when feminists protest this, they’ll just paint it as if we’re more interested in protecting drunken sluts than “babies.”
When you ask why a party would gin up a fake federal war against Catholicism while at the same time it passes laws like this, you've likely answered your own question.
(Ed. note: the medical term "gestational age" is indeed calculated from the first day of the last menstrual period. When Sheppard and Marcotte refer to the bill making abortion illegal later than 18 weeks after a woman "actually" becomes pregnant, the moment they are referring to is after the act of conception. Whereas "fetal pain" bills like Nebraska's forbid abortions 20 weeks after conception, this Arizona bill does so 20 weeks into the gestational age. The difference was not apparent to some readers, and I apologize for the lack of clarity.)
"Melissa Harris-Perry" is hosted by the Tulane political science professor of the same name. Join her each Saturday and Sunday as she explores politics, culture, art and community beyond the beltway. A panel and guest-driven conversation featuring penetrating political analysis and humor, "MHP" continuously challenges the definition of politics and will push the boundaries of what we know, how we know it, and where we get our information. Twitter: @MHPshow.