Adele M. Stan

Adele M. Stan is a columnist at The American Prospect, and editor of Clarion, the newspaper of Professional Staff Congress, a New York City labor union. The views expressed here are her own.

Recent Articles

Untruth in Advertising

The leaves are falling, the daylight waning, and the air has that bracing snap to it; 'tis the season of deceptive political advertising. Weeks before congressional elections, this usually this takes the form of negative television ads placed by the supporters of one candidate or another. But, on the Web, at least one issue-oriented group is offering a clever and upbeat form of the classic deceptive ad: Feminists for Life, a group that seeks to outlaw all abortions, no exceptions. Now, perhaps, as the Feminists for Life literature says, it is possible to oppose all forms of legal abortion -- even those that would save the life of the pregnant woman -- and still be a feminist. But if one were to take such a stance and consider oneself a feminist, one would certainly believe that women should have access to contraception, right? Apparently not if one is a member of Feminists for Life, an organization that href="http://www.feministsforlife.org/FAQ/index.htm#contraception">refuses to...

Benedict the Bombthrower

When I heard of Pope Benedict XVI's unfortunate comments about Islam, uttered via the voice of an ancient Byzantine emperor, my initial supposition was that the pontiff had simply been a bit ham-fisted, making an ill-advised choice of source material to illustrate a point about the nature of God. Then I actually read the speech that has set the Islamic world aflame. At best, the address delivered by the pontiff to what the Vatican calls “representatives of science” at Germany's University of Regensburg is an act of mischief rooted in chauvinism. I cannot see how any Catholic of good will -- one who values peace over war, or favors compassion over condemnation -- can accept the pope's actions in delivering such remarks as in any way divinely inspired, especially if one applies to Benedict the very standard he sought to illustrate with his once-removed insult of Islam as evil, inhuman, and unoriginal. The point His Holiness was trying to make -- and I can't imagine how this was...

Culture Clash

Not long after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, I sat at a Dupont Circle cafe with a friend who had lost her brother-in-law in the the World Trade Center. I was holding forth on my belief that American ignorance played no small role in creating the conditions for the attacks, when she became extremely agitated. "How can you say that?" she cried. "It's like you're blaming those people [in the towers] for their own deaths!" "That's not what I mean," I tried to explain, but was cut off. "They hate our way of life," she continued. "That's what this is about." In a certain sense, she was right. But five years later, I think it's clearer than ever what's missing from the "hate our way of life" explanation. Serious Muslims do in fact hate many of the values on which American life is based -- individualism arguably first among them. But that's not why the extremists who killed nearly 3,000 innocent Americans that day enjoy the support of a great many Muslims. Things got this bad...

Storm Trooper

The life of Cholene Espinoza appears to crystallize, in a single person, the Zeitgeist of our time; her personal story encompasses a number of issues that burn in today's headlines: women's rights, gay rights, the role of the military in the modern world, the role of faith in activism. Now in her early forties, Espinoza, a self-described gay woman, graduated from the U.S. Air Force Academy in 1987 and went on to serve as the second woman ever to fly the U-2 reconnaissance aircraft. Today she's a pilot for United Airlines, where she had served as a captain until staff cutbacks stemming from United's bankruptcy knocked her down a rank. What's more, she was a war correspondent -- one who covered the 2003 invasion of Iraq as an embedded reporter. She would also like to be allowed to marry her partner, Ellen Ratner of Talk Radio News Service. With her first book, Through the Eye of the Storm (Chelsea Green), Espinoza inserts herself into what will likely be viewed as one of the signal...

The Shylock Code

Before I get started here, let me make one thing perfectly clear: I am not, nor have I ever been, a member of the Jewish faith. No members of my family are known to be Jews. Okay, so some of my best friends are Jews, but whattaya want? I'm in the liberal media biz, and you know who's in charge here. Call it a matter of professional development. But me, I'm a holy card-carrying, Blessed Mother-lovin' member of the Church of Rome. My opening declaration is necessitated by the subject of this treatise: the fallout from the meltdown of Mel Gibson, Traditionalist Catholic , and his drunken tirade against the "f#@*ing Jews." I feel for Mr. Gibson, I really do; as a recovering alcoholic myself, I know too well the shame the drunk so easily brings upon herself when the tongue is loosened and the fists unleashed by the fruit of the vine, brewery, and/or distillery. And I know firsthand the pain inflicted on earnest Catholics at the hands of dismissive Jews: When I was in the 10th grade, I was...

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