RAPE IN IRAQ. In a horrifying convergence of events this week, Iraqi women are taking the center stage as rape victims. Two soldiers pleaded guilty to raping a 14-year-old Iraqi teenager and murdering her along with her family. From yesterday's testimony:
"I lifted up her skirt and took off her stockings while Barker held her hands with his knees," [Sgt. Paul E. Cortez, 24] said before admitting that he raped the teenager as she screamed. "After I was done, myself and [Spec. James P. Barker] switched spots."
WORKING MOMS OR CONGRESSWOMEN? ALWAYS BOTH. The NYT features a profile today of freshman Rep. Kirsten Gillibrand. The article points out the balance of campaigning while in office and the struggles of Democrats to differentiate themselves from their Republican counterparts on Iraq, but the article also notes that Gillibrand is a wife and mother of a 3-year-old son. This leads me to wonder, how often do profiles of male politicians point out that they are husbands and fathers? It seems not nearly as often as profiles of female politicians.
THE 30 PERCENT RULE. Women's E-News reported today that Chile is debating a quota law for women in congressional representation. The article noted that more than 50 countries around the world have laws requiring a certain percentage of women hold offices in congress or parliament. Opponents of the law in Chile say it will be tricky to implement because it may "threaten the political longevity of at least some male legislators."
ON MINNESOTA POLITICS. Al Franken has been saying he's going to run for Senate for a while now. (As the aforementioned Minnesota native on staff, I especially love this colorful illustration of Minnesotans depicted as simpletons courtesy the New York Times.) The recent announcement just made it official. I'm going to venture out on a limb and say Franken actually has a shot. Remember, he's running against Norm Coleman, who got elected following Paul Wellstone's tragic death. And Norm Coleman actually used to be a Democrat back when he was elected mayor of St. Paul.