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Friday, November 27, 2009

What's Up Iran?

photo complements of BBC

Again, Iran is rebuked over nuclear ‘cover up’ by the UN. Such has been repeated ad nauseam, this year. In September, it emerged that—as well as its uranium enrichment facility at Natanz, Iran had a second such facility near the town of Qom. And—until two months ago, Iran had failed to tell the IAEA about the plant. Iran later claimed that it had kept the construction secret because it feared that its known nuclear plants could be bombed.

The three countries voting against the resolution were Cuba, Malaysia and Venezuela. Six other nations — Afghanistan, Brazil, Egypt, Pakistan, South Africa and Turkey — abstained, and one, Azerbaijan, was absent. The resolution called on Tehran to confirm “that Iran has not taken a decision to construct, or authorize construction of, any other nuclear facility which has as yet not been declared to the agency,” according to diplomats familiar with the text of the resolution.

What’s also new, is Iran is looking to [Brazil] for help—as a sort of “new source of legitimacy to hide the government’s surreptitious goals.” The two countries said that they may discuss cooperation in the nuclear field, where Iran is under intense international pressure to stop uranium enrichment for fear that it is developing atomic weapons. "We can build partnerships to build nuclear plants," Ahmadinejad said in an interview with Brazil's Globo TV News. "Our two countries need nuclear power to generate electricity. Both Brazil and Iran are entitled to benefit from nuclear technology." Indeed, it may not be as embracing as Venezuela's Hugo Chavez, a close ally whom Ahmadinejad will visit next on his tour of South America. But it also shouldn't be as punitive as the U.S. or European approach.

Sadly, the UN has given it the golden opportunity for the uranium to be shipped overseas—which is a win-win solution if truly [truly] wants nuclear power for peaceful means. Nevertheless, a rejection of this resolution is not a sign of Iran's growing isolation. Iran’s hesitation to cooperate is truly indicative of its posture since ’79. However, its reluctance to engage in more constructive talks has infuriated even those countries which have protected it in the past.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Fashion + Politics=Pashion


So this past Saturday you probably heard about how the House passed a health care bill. For fantastic, in depth coverage of the bill and controversy surrounding it take a look at Slate (http://www.slate.com/id/2220222/) Also make sure to see how your Congressman/Congresswoman voted on the bill (http://clerk.house.gov/evs/2009/roll887.xml) Debate and votes on the bill took all day and not only was the drama Gossip Girl worthy but so were the clothes (seriously.)

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi looked fabulous, outfitted in red, looking sharp and a little fancier than usual. Someone not nearly as high profile but looking fierce was Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT,) who as always, used color well and paired her green blazer with some killer accessories (http://www.nytimes.com/slideshow/2009/11/08/health/policy/1108-HEALTH_index.html).

To jump across the aisle, Rep. Michelle Bachmann (R-MN,) also known as Captain Crazy, sported a lei. Seriously, check out this video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VkVdr8Z2y_M&feature=player_embedded# to learn why, it makes the list of craziest things she has ever done.

We could discuss what the men of the House were wearing, but that would not be nearly as fun. They all wear the same thing, dark suits with an occasional brightly colored or patterned tie (or a bow tie like Earl Blumenauer.)

In other D.C. fashion news Senators Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) both wore Pumas at a recent press conference, with suits! Definitely not okay. http://www.politico.com/click/stories/0911/politicians_and_their_pumas.html

A member of the Senate who’s probably incredibly stressed out right now is Olympia Snowe (R-ME.) Make sure to keep an eye on her in the next few weeks, Snowe is almost always outfitted in printed suits, big jewelry, and turtlenecks. She has also been wearing her hair the same way for 30-something years (kind of like my grandmother.) Check out HuffPo’s slideshow http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/10/13/olympia-snowes-classic-co_n_310050.html.

HRC is glowing (her skin looks fabulous) on the cover of this week’s Time magazine (that’s for you Kate Moore,) outfitted in a red blazer and a chunky gold necklace http://www.time.com/time/covers/0,16641,20091116,00.html

So until Congress leaves DC for winter recess it’s going to be hectic, but make sure to pay attention to the clothes! You might spot Rosa DeLauro in some new hipsterish glasses or Michelle Bachmann wearing a fire hat, you never really know!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Post-Election Day Blues, and Other Musings

The Smith Dems, as well as the entire Democratic Party, had a rough night on Tuesday. Deeds and Wagner went down in Virginia, “the fat man beat the bald man” (Newsweek direct quote!) in New Jersey, and Maine said Yes on One. And, just to add insult to injury…the official Smith Dems boyfriend Nate Silver WAS WRONG. Silver, who called the ENTIRE ELECTORAL MAP last year, got Maine wrong! Has hell frozen over while we were all busy with week 9 of midterms?!

To the numbers: McDonell 56-Deeds 42 for Governor and Bolling 54-Wagner 41 for Lieutenant Governor.

Yes, the man who is against feminists, gays and condoms is now the highest in the land of Virginia. According to the Washington Post, his thesis said that working women and feminists are detrimental to the family, government policy should favor married couples over "cohabitators, homosexuals or fornicators” and he described as "illogical" a 1972 Supreme Court decision legalizing the use of contraception by unmarried couples.

In response to that, Mr. Governor, we say we’re the sons and daughters of working mothers and all we learned is that we can have it all. We say stay out of our private lives and we’ll stay out of yours. We say sorry but Eisenstadt v. Baird is still good law, and it’s certainly not going anywhere.

Jody Wagner ran an inspiring campaign and we are lucky to have worked for such an amazing woman. Keep an eye on that one…the lady is going places! Also, in Smith alum news, Gwen Mason, running in VA’s oh-so-red 17th district for House of Delegates, lost to Bill Cleaveland. After hearing her constituent’s accents, I dreamt of mint juleps and the smell of jasmine floating over the bayou, of sweet tea and wooden rocking chairs. They were that Southern, y’all.

New Jersey (and a personal apology to Liz Rich, who wanted to move the minute the results were final) also did not go our way. Chris Christie beat incumbent Jon Corzine, 49-44 (NYT). He’s the first Republican to win a state-wide campaign in twelve years. What’s up with that, New Jersey voters? And just to spark your interest, something might be rotten in the state of New Jersey: “In New Jersey, a sprawling corruption case begun by Mr. Christie, which culminated in July with the arrests of dozens of politicians and others, appeared to have taken its toll on the Democratic get-out-the-vote machinery. In Hudson County, a party bastion where a number of Democratic officials were charged, only 39 percent of registered voters cast their ballots, county officials said.” (New York Times)

And, maybe saddest of all, Maine said Yes on One. Maine already had a gay marriage law on the books, and this legislation repealed it. The moderate Northern state was looked at as a good barometer of where the dialogue on gay marriage was heading. The loss might mean a shift away from gay marriage initiatives all together…or it might mean an escalation. Personally, we’re hoping for the latter and we’ll be on the front lines. For our part, every area where the Smith Dems worked SAID NO! and we should be proud of our work there. Also, they had HUGE voter turn out- almost 89% of registered voters turned out- and the race was close, 53-47. In the inspirational words of Jesse Connolly, the campaign manager for No on One, “We're in this for the long haul. For next week, and next month, and next year-- until all Maine families are treated equally. Because in the end, this has always been about love and family and that will always be something worth fighting for.” Tear inducing, non? Also, something funny to lighten the mood: Question 5 in Maine did pass…so Mainers can’t get married, but they can get high. Well, not really, but they did vote to expand their decade-old medical marijuana legislation. Congrats?

And while no one was watching, Democrats took NY-23. In quite possibly the strangest election of the cycle, the Republican party basically imploded, Sarah Palin and Rush made fools of themselves…like that’s something new?...and a Dem came out on top. Could we ask for anything better? Bill Owens beat Conservative party candidate Doug Hoffman (LOOK UP HIS PICTURE RIGHT NOW), after being endorsed by his former Republican rival Dede Scozzafava. Scozzafava, who is a moderate Republican, was criticized by the right for being pro-choice and pro-gay marriage; their criticism cost them the seat. The seat opened up after long-term Republican congressman, John McHugh, was appointed by Obama as Secretary of the Navy. Cleverly done, Mr. President. Congratulations, Congressman Owens!

All in all, you should be SO PROUD of yourselves.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Congressman Mike Capuano Visits The Smith Democrats


After gathering around a television to watch the debate on Monday, Mike Capuano came to speak to the Dems and talk about why he wants to fill Ted Kennedy's seat and how we can get involved in the campaign to make this work for him. While most of the Dems are actually not Massachusetts voters, most feel especially attached to this race due to our high esteem for Ted Kennedy, a senator who was so formative in inspiring us as young leaders. Capuano was a personable speaker and the Dems loved engaging him with questions. Indeed, the Dems--although not tied to any specific candidate--are extremely eager to volunteer for Mr. Capuano. The Dems have also been dedicatedly making calls for Creigh Deeds and Jody Wagner in the Virginia race.