Kay SteigerMar 31, 2007
ELLEN GOOD-WOMAN. As Dana said , Ellen Goodman spoke at the Women, Action & the Media conference here last night in Cambridge, MA from her 40 years of experience with the MSM op-ed pages. As one of the first women to grace the "thinking pages," Goodman's perspective was one that I found invaluable (although she had trouble articulating herself on complex issues like disablity and race). She points out that a lot of young women entering the media today know there was sexism that prevented women from speaking out in the media, but "they forget it was legal" to discriminate. The women, she said, were "researchers" at big publications like Newsweek , and the men were the reporters and writers. Sitll, women make up a vast minority of the talking heads. Goodman brings the perspective that women have come a long way in the media but still have a long way to go. -- Kay Steiger
Kay SteigerMar 27, 2007
BUDGET RESOLVE. This morning I went to a sparsely attended press conference hosted by the House Committee on Veterans' Affairs where several representatives patted themselves on the back for passing the continuing budget resolution which adds an additional $6.6 billion in health care and discretionary funding for veterans. In light of the Walter Reed scandal, Democrats in the Veterans' Committee are pushing for more funding. Budget chair John Spratt emphasized funding for post-traumatic stress disorder, calling for the hiring of more psychiatrists to deal with the "growing beneficiary population" -- Iraq and Afghanistan vets who will be dealing with postwar trauma -- as well as funding for prosthetics research. As I've said before, the silver lining in the Walter Reed scandal (though, to reiterate, that's an Army rather than a VA hospital) is that opposition to VA funding becomes even more politically disastrous than normal. By promoting an increase over previous Congress' budgets for...
Kay SteigerMar 26, 2007
DER SOLDAT. AlterNet reports that the German magazine Der Spiegel recently published a profile of several U.S. soldiers who struggle with their role in the war. One soldier went AWOL because of his objections: From inside, the Army struck "John" as brutal, controlling, "like a slavery contract." Iraq, his first war zone, did nothing to quiet his doubts. The communications specialist was sent to a base near Baghdad to repair a phone and Internet hookup that allowed communication between US facilities. John found himself holding a faulty fiberoptic cable labeled "Abu Ghraib." "I really felt like part of something bad at that point," he says. "I didn't directly have blood on my hands, but I was part of it." One soldier was finally granted conscientious objector status and currently works as a schoolteacher in Nevada, but the process was long and difficult. As Tara McKelvey reported in our April print issue, a few litigators have had success in fighting "stop-loss policies" by suing the...
Kay SteigerMar 20, 2007
GI JANE. An article in the NYT magazine this weekend examined women vets and why they experience a slightly higher rate -- 24 percent compared with 19 percent of men -- of post-traumatic stress disorder than their male counterparts. The reason behind this is sexual assault and harassment, something the article calls a "double whammy" when combined with the stress of serving during wartime. The reality, as the article points out, is that the military and VA have done very little to deal with this problem. Even when women go through treatment for PTSD, they're often placed in groups of all men, some of whom are dealing with sexually assaulting someone. This often destroys the trust that these women are supposed to experience in a group therapy setting. The end of the article points out that there is one VA-run group in California especially for women suffering from PTSD -- often as the result of sexual assault. The military needs more groups like these. Today, Women's eNews reports that...