Tribute to Jeanette Rankin: First Woman in Congress

This post comes to us from guest blogger Talia bat Pessi bat Feige bat Ita bat Gittel. Talia regularly blogs over at Star of Davida.

Women currently make up 17% of Congress. While this number is certainly much lower than it should be, less than a century ago, there was only one woman in Congress: Jeanette Rankin. Rankin, the first woman elected to Congress, opened the door for women to enter politics in the United States and worldwide.

Jeanette Rankin (sometimes spelled Jeannette) was born on a Montanan ranch on June 11, 1880. She helped her parents run the ranch and raise her five younger siblings, which gave her the confidence that she could take charge and lead, a mindset she continued to go by in her later years. [Read more...]

The Eleanor Roosevelt Legacy is Powerful Women

Monday morning I took my own advice and went to The Eleanor Roosevelt Legacy’s Annual Spring Breakfast. Eleanor’s Legacy is dedicated to supporting Democratic women candidates, voters, and activists throughout New York State; and there was an abundance of each present. If my faith were ever to waver that New York is where Progressives have progressed most, I would need only to remind myself that three of the purported front runners in the upcoming mayoral election (none have declared their candidacy), City Council President Christine C. Quinn, Public Advocate Bill de Blasio, and Comptroller John Liu all made a point to appear first thing in the morning of a busy work week. In New York, at least, women matter.

I don’t think I was the only one seeking some femme-positive spiritual affirmation. When President Nora Bredes introduced the newest Congresswoman from New York, Kathy Hochul, the applause that erupted in the room felt like a collective sigh of relief at having palpable proof that our sometimes frustrating efforts to promote feminist causes do pay off on occasion. If we are lucky, the reward can come in the form of a public servant like Hochul, who considers political activism a noble calling and believes it her duty to mentor women similarly inspired.

Bredes repeated the conventional narrative of Hochul’s election: Hochul’s win in the most Republican-leaning district in the state was a repudiation of Republican Paul Ryan’s plan to “reform” Medicare. Then she added that while she wished this were true, the real reason Hochul won was because she was a great candidate. [Read more...]

Who’s Too Hormonal?

Before I use my angst for good, a moment or five of piling on: Should Anthony Weiner have known better?  Of course. The poor schnook may have delusions of grandeur and an adolescent’s case of cause-and-effect amnesia, but if his week of weaseldom has proven anything, it’s that he is painfully and horrifyingly in touch with reality. Much as he might wish at this particular juncture to pull the rip cord, he has and has probably always been, well-aware of the difference between right and wrong. (And by “right and wrong,” I’m shooting for the realm of meaning somewhere in the vicinity of the moral, self-protective sense of the words—Representative Weiner doesn’t seem to be guilty of  much more than abject stupidity and lying in a wish-fulfillment fantasy effort to deny the aforementioned stupidity.)

So yes. Anthony Weiner did know better, and he did it anyway. And, sadly for all of us, the good(ish) news, at least on June 8th at almost 8am EST, is that it seems the man is guilty only of supremely bad judgment and an enviable ability to rig the risks vs. rewards equation in his favor.

I leave it to kinder, wiser, more patient souls like Nancy Gibbs to  ponder what it is that makes powerful men so powerfully and predictably undone by their libidos. I have at least as many flaws as Representative Weiner, if not a million more, though none of them include sending any picture of me (or any part of me) to any person with even the faintest hope that they might find that picture sexually attractive. But I would be somewhat less risk-averse than myself if I were to believe with any real conviction that this afforded me any but the most qualified, equally-within-glass-house-living insights. [Read more...]