What Social Issues “Truce”?

From Mother Jones: http://motherjones.com/mojo/2011/04/what-social-issues-truce

By Suzy Khimm
Fri Apr. 8, 2011

For the newly empowered Republicans, the budget fight was supposed to be about the numbers: slashing government spending, bringing down the deficit, and restoring the country to fiscal sanity. But a government shutdown now appears to hinge on the GOP’s decision to slash subsidies for gynecological exams and local funding for abortions in the District of Columbia, as I reported on Thursday evening. It’s a replay of the fight over the Affordable Care Act that happened almost exactly a year ago, when anti-abortion Democrats blocked the bill over abortion funding issues.

The showdown should put to rest the notion that tea party-backed Republicans simply doesn’t care about social issues. Since last year’s elections, tea party organizers have tried to insist that the grassroots movement cares most about fiscal issues. “People didn’t come out into the streets to protest gay marriage or abortion,” FreedomWorks’ Brendan Steinhauser told Politico last month. The Christian Right, likewise, has expressed concern that their issues would be left on the backburner.
”There’s a libertarian streak in the tea party movement that concerns me as a cultural conservative,” said the American Family Association’s Bryan Fischer. “The tea party movement needs to insist that candidates believe in the sanctity of life and the sanctity of marriage.”

Complete article at:  http://motherjones.com/mojo/2011/04/what-social-issues-truce

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Budget Battle: Women Under a Bus?

From The New Yorker: http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/closeread/2011/04/budget-battle-women-under-a-bus.html

Posted by Amy Davidson
April 8, 2011

“The only thing left undone when we left the White House last night was women’s health,” Senator Harry Reid, the Democratic Majority Leader, told reporters this morning. By “last night” he meant 3 A.M., and by “women’s health” he didn’t even mean abortion, or not directly; our government may be about to shut down because of Republicans who regard it as perfidious that Planned Parenthood provides cancer screenings for lower-income women. That’s what the funding at issue is for, not abortions; but the Republicans argue that it will somehow free up money for that. More likely, cutting money for cancer screenings will mean fewer cancer screenings; blood-pressure screenings are at issue, too. In some communities, Planned Parenthood is the most accessible health-care provider women have. Ezra Klein, at the Washington Post, points to a chart from the group breaking down what it does. (Cancer screenings and prevention: sixteen per cent; abortion services: three per cent.)

John Boehner said that the real issue is still spending; Reid told reporters to use the Freedom of Information Act to get the notes of the negotiation sessions. (Good idea.) Reid also said, “The Republican House leadership have only a couple of hours to look in the mirror, snap out of it and realize how truly shameful they have been”—“shameless” would have worked there, too. (Why is this more a matter of Republicans taking away money than Democrats trying to get it? Because it involves the Republicans tacking a policy rider to the budget that specifically targets Planned Parenthood.) The Tea Party members, Harry Reid said, “are willing to throw women under the bus.”

Read more http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/closeread/2011/04/budget-battle-women-under-a-bus.html

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Killer Fashion: An Industry in Denial

From In These Times: http://www.inthesetimes.com/article/7072/killer_fashion/

Eating disorders are rampant, and models are dying.

By Libby Rodenbough
March 28, 2011

On Nov. 17, 2010, anorexia nervosa claimed the life of 28-year-old French model Isabelle Caro, who had spent the last years of her life publicizing the horrors of the disease. Her mother, devastated by grief and guilt, committed suicide several weeks later. In 2007, Caro had appeared in “No Anorexia,” an ad campaign by provocative fashion photographer Oliviero Toscani, shown above on a billboard in Rome. The images of her naked, grotesquely emaciated body shocked and revolted. The campaign, intended to disassociate unhealthy thinness with connotations of glamour, sparked controversy, in part because some pro-anorexia and -bulimia websites used its ads as “thinspiration” (collections of images or videos of slim to skeletal women used by those suffering from eating disorders for weight-loss motivation). Despite her commitment to heightening awareness of anorexia, Caro could not escape its demons.

Caro’s unsettling death recalled a string of fatalities in 2006 and 2007 of fashion models who suffered from eating disorders, which, while highly publicized at the time, had since largely faded from the public’s—and the fashion industry’s—memory.

On Aug. 2, 2006, moments after stepping off a catwalk in Montevideo, Uruguay, 22-year-old fashion model Luisel Ramos collapsed and died from heart failure believed to have been triggered by self-imposed starvation. Ramos’ father reported that she had been subsisting on a diet of lettuce and Diet Coke in anticipation of the show. On Nov. 15, 2006, 21-year-old Brazilian model Ana Carolina Reston died in a São Paulo hospital from generalized infection. Her body had been rendered powerless to fight it by an extended battle with anorexia and bulimia. And on Feb. 13, 2007, Ramos’ sister, Eliana, also a model and only 18 years old, was found dead at her grandparents’ home, apparently having suffered a heart attack linked to malnutrition.

This rapid succession of casualties provided a wake-up call for the international fashion industry. One detail in particular made it impossible to ignore: All three women, even on the brink of death, were taking home paychecks as working models. The industry responded with regulations varying by country in substance and severity. But the effects of voluntary measures adopted in the United States are unknown, thanks in no small part to the continuing silence of industry leaders and insiders in New York City.

Continue reading at:  http://www.inthesetimes.com/article/7072/killer_fashion/

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