The New York TImes has an interesting piece up on the legacy of President Clinton’s welfare reform efforts. These efforts were a part of Clinton’s broader re-election strategy of triangulation: the attempt to co-opt the issues and views of one’s opponents, thus pulling the rug out from under them. In this spirit, Clinton, a baby-boomer, former-hippie Democrat, declared the era of big government over and promised to end “welfare as we know it.” Well, as we now know, the implications of the “reform” of welfare were catastrophic for millions of people and disproportionately affected the poor (duh!) and women:
The poor people who were dropped from cash assistance here, mostly single mothers, talk with surprising openness about the desperate, and sometimes illegal, ways they make ends meet. They have sold food stamps, sold blood, skipped meals, shoplifted, doubled up with friends, scavenged trash bins for bottles and cans and returned to relationships with violent partners — all with children in tow.
Got that? “Mostly single mothers…with children in tow.” Doesn’t sound like barbarians pounding at the gates of the Republic, does it? Clinton’s pursuit of welfare reform was a shrew political maneuver, as he won re-election and increased Democratic numbers in Congress in the 1998 midterm elections, but at what cost? Clinton was cashing in on the conservative rhetorical game surrounding welfare that began in the previous decade when Reagan summarily condemned “welfare queens” in their Cadillacs, running around buying fancy cars and premium cuts of steak on the taxpayer dime.
So while it was a shrewd political maneuver, it was also a crass and despicable act, exploiting the misinformed, racist and sexist hatred against welfare recipients initially ginned up by Reagan and his minions. Thankfully for Clinton he has a legacy to speak of; unfortunately for him, it will be a legacy tainted by the pain and suffering of innocent families forced into the harsh cold by policies he actively pursued, all so he could enjoy “four more years.”
Texts from Hillary
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Happy International Women’s Day, from.…a man. Oh well, nevermind the messenger, here’s a quick roundup of the news from International Women’s Day!
- First off, from Time Magazine, we have a debate on the question of “Are Women People?” that addresses some of the recent issues (Sandra Fluke, mandatory ultrasounds for abortion-happy ladies, etc) and considers whether women are really sentient, autonomous beings any longer.
- Think Progress has the dish on “Women’s Impact on the Economy, By the Numbers.” Enlightening reading.
- From The Daily Beast, we have coverage of the third annual Women in the World summit. Status of women in the world? Click to find out!
- A bit belated, but here is a Washington Post piece on ways to celebrate IWD. A bit cheeky for my taste, but eh, what the heck? Click the clicky here.
- From Michael Moore’s book Stupid White Men, here’s an excerpt about “The End of Men.”
- From Brave New Films, producer of the documentaries Outfoxed and Walmart: The High Cost of Low Prices, comes a look at how many times Rush Limbaugh can slander women in ONE MINUTE!
- And finally, from the Guardian Newspaper back in the old country, we have a treasure trove of user-submitted photos celebrating IWD. Our favorite? The first one, for celebrating IWD with joyful vandalism:
That’s all for now. Happy International Women’s Day!
Yeah, someone went there:
And here we have a masterful response from Angry Black Lady:
Yeah, let that sink in. You’ve got the African-American President is a 70′s pimp angle, the Sandra Fluke is a whore angle, the “evil light-skinned brother” angle, the white girl subservient to the black man angle, a complete misrepresentation of Ms. Fluke’s statements to boot and it’s all rolled up into one big insulting awful package of pure hatred for black people, women, and human beings with working souls. It’s actually impressive, in the same way ebola-tipped bullets fired into crowds of baby sloths is impressive: just overwhelmingly, unremittingly awful on multiple levels.
I know I shouldn’t be, but I’m hung up on the image of a “crowd of baby sloths.” Powerful imagery, that. It looks like the vicious racism of the 2008 campaign is likely to look like pat-a-cake compared to the nasty onslaught coming down the pike for this year.
Head, meet desk.
A final note: if you’d like to drop the artist of that cartoon a line, here’s his contact info.
In my inaugural post, I thought I’d highlight a recent bit of news about a Louisville woman who was terminated from her job at Our Lady of Peace hospital last year for trying to organize a union. Joe Sonka at Leo Weekly first covered the story last year:
Amy Doyle had worked at Our Lady of Peace psychiatric hospital for nearly nine years, most recently as a mental health associate working with mentally retarded teenagers at a group home where she helped them with school and activities of daily living.
But in late September, Our Lady of Peace management suddenly suspended Doyle.
“They suspended me for ‘distribution of non-work materials and discussion of non-work related topics, to the level of harassment,’” Doyle says. “That was their actual wording. But they never told me what I was distributing. They never told me who I was harassing.”
The whole article is worth a read, as is the followup, here. News just came down this week that the NLRB, who heard testimony in Amy’s case in January of this year, has issued a ruling. The hospital has been ordered to put Amy back to work within fourteen days, give her all of her back wages, and post a notice at all of their facilities announcing that they have violated federal labor law and that their employees have a legal right to form a union.
More coverage here and here.