RedTracker 8-17-09

The Price of Candor and the Smallest Dose of American Humility


Hillary is in the ditch again, over her remarks in Nigeria that America’s elections aren’t always without flaws. Specifically, Secretary of State Clinton cites the Gore/Bush election and electoral confusion in florida.

The London Times says Mrs. Clinton will be in hot water back home. She is.

State department insiders defend Hillary’s remarks, saying that she has leaned heavily on African governments all week — even when they warned her in advance that they didn’t need a lecture on democracy.

ABC News reports: “This has been a consistent message she has delivered to countries who are struggling in Africa, that they have to strengthen their electoral processes and form independent electoral commissions, but most importantly the candidates themselves have to accept the results rather than resort to violence,” he (Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs P.J. Crowley) told reporters.

Note: the AP is running a very positive trip recap, in terms of Africa’s response to Hillary. Before everyone whips the woman to death as anti-American, the Africans do have a few assets that America wants. Diplomacy is a two-way street.  

Perhaps a little humility on our side isn’t a totally bad thing, especially if the Secy is delivering tough talk that no one wants to hear from her. And that’s before we have the “woman thing” in Africa. Look how big it is in America. I can’t imagine what those African guys say behind her back. 

Maybe German Chancellor Merkel can weigh in on this matter. Anne


21st Century Parents More Affectionate, but Mom’s the Disciplinarian


Researchers from Ohio State University studied 1133 young adult parents, whose mothers took part if a 15-year study from 1979. One of the biggest changes in the second generation parents involved spankings.

Second generation mothers who were spanked at least once a week were found to be nearly half as more likely to spank their own children compared to mothers who weren’t spanked.

Fathers spanked as children were less likely to spank their own children. Only 28 per cent of the second generation of fathers reported spanking their children compared to 43 per cent of mothers. Both parents reported showing much greater affection and praise for their children.The Age


Hillary Confront the Horrors of Life for Women in Congo


We’re covering the secretary of state’s trip in our new International Women’s Rights channel, Women in Congo. Quickly overviewing the media’s assessment of her trip to DRC and the staggering look at women’s lives that she experienced there, I doubt that calls for prosecution of rapists will end the problem. For certain it will help, if implemented.

The Congo, like so many other regions of the world, has a political culture in which women are ‘possessions’ of men. Where women are ‘owned’, either legally or culturally, men will use them however they wish.

Let us hope that Hillary’s visit is the beginning of a better life for women in the Congo. Surely she saw yesterday, the worst humanitarian crisis on the planet. A


Too Close for Comfort: The Impact of Layoffs on Marriage


With not enough to do, no pats on the corporate back, and schedules now out of sync, layoff-impacted couples tend to manage each other with new demands. Bottom line: bad, bad, bad. via WSJ


Justice O’Connor Has Not Given Up Her Bench


Today’s WSJ shares the news that retired Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor has become a ‘flying squad’ judge (my term), filling in for federal appellate court judges around the country.

Unlike the Supreme Court, which cherry-picks only 1% of the 10,000 cases it is petitioned to hear, the appellate court must take an appeal from almost any loser in federal district court. Cases almost never plumb heady legal issues, but instead revolve around some quotidian — some might even say boring — facts. “Some fact-bound criminal case is not of special interest to me, I have to confess,” she says. Most of her caseload is “not particularly demanding, intellectually.”