Obama attacks Clinton over Iran

clintonBBC NEWS | Americas | Obama attacks Clinton over Iran

Speaking in Indiana, Mrs Clinton said she had no regrets about promising to “totally obliterate” Iran if it attacked Israel with nuclear weapons – a scenario that was put to her two weeks ago.

“Why would I have any regrets?” she asked on ABC television.

Oh good lord. Where’s my dark horse independent?

Our next President will most likely be stupid

Orac has a nice rejoinder to David Kirby’s recent article, which contained the following disheartening, if not unsurprising news:

Senator Hillary Clinton, in response to a questionnaire from the autism activist group A-CHAMP, wrote that she was “Committed to make investments to find the causes of autism, including possible environmental causes like vaccines.” And when asked if she would support a study of vaccinated vs. unvaccinated children, she said: “Yes. We don’t know what, if any, kind of link there is between vaccines and autism – but we should find out.”And now, yesterday, at a rally in Pennsylvania, Barack Obama had this rather surprising thing to say:

“We’ve seen just a skyrocketing autism rate. Some people are suspicious that it’s connected to the vaccines. This person included. The science right now is inconclusive, but we have to research it.”

(Note: The Washington Post reports that when Obama said “this person,” he pointed to someone who had asked an autism question).

Orac contends (and I agree) that the problem isn’t the answers themselves, but rather that they answered at all (his notes and links, not mine):

In essence, both candidates accepted some of the major pillars of the mercury militia’s fantasies as being true. These include claims that:

  • there is an autism “epidemic.” (Arguably, there is very likely not.)
  • there is a scientific controversy over whether vaccines cause autism. (There really isn’t; it’s a so-called manufactured controversy. There is no good evidence that vaccines cause autism, David Kirby’s bloviations and pontifications otherwise notwithstanding. Multiple large epidemiological studies have failed to find even a hint of a convincing link, and the publicizing of the Hannah Poling case as some sort of “smoking gun” by antivaccinationists is nothing more than a rebranding of autism and more evidence of the incredibly shrinking vaccine claim.)
  • that vaccines are somehow unsafe or that children are “overvaccinated” and eceive too many vaccines. (Again, there is no good evidence that either of these is the case.)

And of course, John McCain is even worse.

Through a Lens Wrongly

bill-hillary-clinton.jpgThis is a really interesting article in the Washington Post on the challenges women face all the way from the board room to the White House:

In my remarks to the business group, I noted that it’s common for women to use “we” to be inclusive and to avoid sounding self-promoting when they believe it’s obvious that they’re referring to work they did themselves. A woman in the audience spoke up: “That’s exactly right,” she said. “I presented my work using ‘we’ and was told: ‘You’re not being managerial. You have to own the work you’ve done.’ ” But her experience also illustrated the double bind. “So I started saying ‘I,’ ” she went on, “and my colleagues started saying, ‘She’s not as great as she thinks she is.’ “

We think we’re judging people as individuals, but gender is like a contact lens permanently affixed to the eye. As the philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein put it, “One thinks that one is tracing the outline of the thing’s nature over and over again, and one is merely tracing round the frame through which we look at it.” Gender is a frame through which we look at people — and what we see reflects that frame.

I think the author makes some pretty good points about how we view Clinton through a ‘frame’ of sorts:

Women’s status as wives is such a huge part of our image of them that it tends to obscure other roles, while a man’s marital status is left in the background. This might explain why we hear so many references to Clinton’s position as first lady rather than her eight years in the Senate, where, as political scientist Norman Ornstein put it to me, “she has been without question one of the most effective senators.” For example, he noted, “on Armed Services, she dug in, developed relationships with all the best generals and other brass, and learned defense inside out.” And why do we keep hearing about her efforts to ensure universal health care in 1993, rather than her many senatorial successes on the issue, such as a bill she introduced in 2003 to make sure that drugs marketed for children have been tested on children, or her success in securing health benefits for National Guard and Reserve members who served in Iraq?

Not that I’m a Clinton supporter, but I did think it was interesting that I haven’t really heard much about these successes of hers in the Senate. Although I’m not totally convinced that’s due to gender; I haven’t really heard much about Obama’s accomplishments, either. It may be more due to a lack of interest from the public, a lack of effort from the media, and a general opinion that personality is more important than deeds in politics – unless, of course, those deeds are salacious; then we become very interested and those deeds are suddenly very important. That notwithstanding, I’m sure gender issues do factor into this election, and as the author points out, it’s important to keep that in mind when evaluating candidates.