Kyla Bender-Baird: What are your wildest dreams for Michelle Obama's four years in the White House? (What alternate title for her might you suggest instead of "First Lady"? What would you ideally like to see her role be?)
Jeanie Adkins: I envision her as a role model for this generation’s women, particularly women with identities that are marginalized (women of color, LBT women, etc.). She reminds me so much of Jackie Kennedy in her style, independence, love for the arts and culture, true appreciation for our nation’s diversity and commitment to a stronger America. Plus, as a First Lady, she is a wonderful representation of the modern American woman – she has come from a blue collar upbringing and has worked her way up, achieving much success. Honestly, I could see her running for office in the future…maybe even President (who knows?)!
December 5, 2008 posted by admin Michelle wakes up in the morning, takes a long satisfied stretch, and reaches for her blackberry resting on the nightstand. (Barack has already gotten the girls breakfast and taken them to school.) She’s got a lot of exciting issues to tackle today in her role as Partner-to-the-President: more family-friendly work policy, the reform and revitalization of public education, and the expansion of benefits and support for veterans and their families. Her calendar is chockfull of meetings with thought leaders and feminist politicians, including Secretary of State Hillary Clinton who she has come to consider a close friend and colleague and a group of community organizers—Adrienne Marie Brown, Majora Carter, Maria Teresa Petersen, Jehmu Greene etc.—that she is mentoring and bringing into the White House for personal meetings with the President and his team.
Posted December 5, 2008 by Kyla Bender-Baird In this year’s historic election, young voters played a decisive role in determining our new President. According to exit polls, 68% of voters between the ages of 18 and 29 voted for Obama compared to 45% of voters 65 and up. In California, it has been speculated that if only younger voters cast their ballots, Proposition 8—the initiative which stripped same-sex couples of their right to marry—would never have passed. And yet, this is a generation often accused of political apathy. What galvanized young voters this year to push past cynicism and turn out on voting day?
December 2, 2008 posted by admin While President-elect Obama called on Monday for "a new dawn of American leadership," his selection of Hillary Clinton as our country's next Secretary of State brings a well-known, and in many instances well-liked, face to the international scene. It is this mix of familiarity joined with fresh perspective that will allow Clinton to rebuild our nation's relationships with the world's leaders. According to The New York Times, the team assembled by Obama calls for a "sweeping foreign policy shift," geared to "strengthening the tools needed to deal with unconventional threats." A well-funded and active state department is indeed central to this goal. But building the opportunities to make this shift requires the mending of U.S.
December 2, 2008 posted by admin "Senator Clinton's accession to Secretary of State will be an unprecedented opportunity for women at long last to take their rightful place shoulder-to-shoulder in the international community as leaders, as peers, and as beings whose human rights are as important, valued and 'inalienable' as those of men. Too long the human rights community has dismissed women's rights as important, but not 'human rights' and therefore not important enough to be addressed by their gigantic and well-funded organizations.
“As Barack Obama introduced Hillary Clinton as his nominee for Secretary of State on Monday, the wish of many during the heated presidential primaries came true: that there would be an opportunity to use the immense skills of both to tackle the enormous problems we face. There is no question that both realize they are being handed the most delicate of assignments. With Clinton's history of working for the rights of women, we expect that she will fold into her portfolio the fate of the women of the world—those targeted by acid in Pakistan, rape in the Congo, and hunger everywhere. Until these issues of personal security are resolved, it is unlikely that so-called high-level treaties will hold.”
Linda Basch: What three recommendations do you have for Timothy Geithner, our next Treasury Secretary?
Sara Gould: First, we must strongly urge that the next Secretary ensure that the $700 billion bailout and other actions designed to address the economic crisis prioritize getting relief to communities that need it most. It’s not enough to rely on support for large banks to trickle down to middle and low-income people who are disproportionately affected by the plummeting economy—particularly when the banks’ share of the bailout came with few regulations and the conditions it did come with are being defied (see Naomi Klein’s article in The Nation). Instead, the next Treasury Secretary should require that financial institutions use the bailout money for lending to consumers—instead of to boost the value of its shares. In addition to accountability and comprehensive regulations that apply to bailed-out banks and beyond, s/he should insist upon transparency and reveal exactly where the money is going and how it is being used. It is especially critical that the bailout money be used to help people who are facing or already in foreclosure—the majority of whom are likely women and people of color, as they were most likely to receive sub-prime loans in the first place. One promising option is to support FDIC chairperson Sheila Bair’s proposal to use $25 billion of the bailout to provide mortgage relief to homeowners. Her proposal would offer incentives to loan servicers to restructure mortgages, making payments more affordable. Second, an economic stimulus should be passed quickly. It should include immediate relief such as the extension of unemployment benefits as well as programs like job creation and training that will ensure economic stability for low- and middle-income people over the long-term. Any economic stimulus package should be sure to address the urgent needs of those who have been most impacted by the crisis, especially low-income women, women of color and their families. Recent statistics show that women are losing jobs at twice the rate of men.Third, we must return to a system of progressive taxation in which people with high incomes and net worth provide a larger share of tax revenues. New revenue should go towards domestic stimulus programs such as job training and infrastructure rebuilding as well as for key social and economic supports that have been eroded over the last two decades.