The Hillary Clinton Cleavage Controversy

For those interested in the controversy over Hillary Clinton’s cleavage, The ombudsman for The Washington Post has responded today. As I previously noted (only after it was a major topic of discussion in the blogosphere) this whole subject is of little significance.

For women who are offended that their real accomplishments are ignored in favor of discussion of how much cleavage they show, I am sympathetic. As I do not normally read anything from the section where this appeared, I also do not know if such condescending articles are typical for the fashion section or not.

Yes, I do hope that people who are making a big fuss about this realize this appeared in the fashion section. The magnitude of the response to the article would be much more understandable if it appeared in news coverage of Hillary Clinton. As I also stated in my earlier post, “My standards for what is trivial as opposed to a true political story are different for the fashion section, where this appeared, as opposed to the news sections.”

Deborah Howell, ombudsman for The Washington Post, writes:

Givhan won a 2006 Pulitzer Prize for criticism“for her witty, closely observed essays that transform fashion criticism into cultural criticism.” She writes for Style, where staffers pride themselves on being edgy (some say snarky) and provocative. Her editors give her wide latitude to comment, and she regularly ticks off readers.

Givhan said the National Desk, tuned to C-SPAN2 on July 17, alerted her to Clinton’s appearance “speaking in the Senate chamber, an extraordinarily conservative environment. The cleavage made me do a double take. It seemed so out of her stylistic character. And remember, women couldn’t wear pants on the Senate floor until 1993 — not exactly an environment where modern attire is robustly welcomed.

As I am totally unfamiliar with what is written in the fashion sections of newspapers, or what passes for edgy these days, I am not in a good position to judge whether this column really crossed the line. However, even without reading the fashion sections I feel safe that one argument which some bloggers are making does not hold up. The Washington Post has been criticized for discussing this as opposed to the real issues. I really doubt that the fashion section contains serious discussions of health care reform or Iraq, and the presence of this column does not affect the Posts‘ actual coverage of the issues. It might be argued that the bloggers themselves who have been discussing this have distracted from the real issues, but space seems limitless in the blogosphere and a post on one topic, however trivial, does not prevent discussion of issues of more substance.

Update: Clinton Finds Solution To Cleavage Controversy

Giuliani’s Record as Tax Cutter Questioned

Many conservatives are backing Rudy Giuliani because they believe he is generally with him, even if they shudder at the pictures of him in drag. Among other attributes, they think Giuliani will cut their taxes–which is a big thing among Republicans who would let the whole country fall apart if it meant a two percent reduction in their tax rate. They believe Giuliani is a tax cutter because he claims to be one. The New York Daily News says it isn’t so:

It is Rudy Giuliani’s favorite boast on the presidential campaign trail: “I cut taxes 23 times” as mayor of New York, he says, a claim inevitably met by applause.

The impressive-sounding stat stars in radio ads this week in New Hampshire and Iowa, where the voiceover asserts that Giuliani “cut or eliminated 23 taxes.”

Trouble is, it’s not really true, say tax-cutting allies of the former mayor, as well as experts at the city’s Independent Budget Office and elsewhere.

A close examination of the tax-slashing claims from a list provided by his campaign show that in at least four cases, the former mayor is seizing credit for cuts initiated by others and, in one case, for a tax reduction he fought.

This revelation might hurt Giuliani’s campaign, but it won’t be fatal. There’s a big demand for authoritarian war mongers among Republican primary voters.

Glenn Beck Demonstrates The Right Wing Attitude Opposing Science and Reason

If anyone still wants to claim that CNN is a liberal network, Glenn Beck has made this even more difficult. After his recent words of praise for the John Birch Society, Beck has come up with this on his radio show:

Al Gore’s not going to be rounding up Jews and exterminating them. It is the same tactic, however. The goal is different. The goal is globalization. The goal is global carbon tax. The goal is the United Nations running the world. That is the goal. Back in the 1930s, the goal was get rid of all of the Jews and have one global government.

You got to have an enemy to fight. And when you have an enemy to fight, then you can unite the entire world behind you, and you seize power. That was Hitler’s plan. His enemy: the Jew. Al Gore’s enemy, the U.N.’s enemy: global warming….

Then you get the scientists — eugenics. You get the scientists — global warming. Then you have to discredit the scientists that say, ‘That’s not right.’ And you must silence all dissenting voices. That’s what Hitler did.

There is, of course, absolutely no connection between Hitler’s hatred of the Jews and Al Gore lecturing on the consensus of scientific belief. This is simply another example of the right wing’s hatred of science, from evolution to climate change. The latest attempt by the right to disparage science has been to bring up eugenics. While the right tries to tie in liberalism with eugenics, the connection is as imaginary as WMD in Iraq.

Consideration of right wing myths beyond their anti-science leads to why the right wing hates science. Science is the manner in which we objectively learn about the universe around us. Science looks for objective facts, not arguments to support any particular ideology. In contrast, many conservatives base their arguments upon substituting their own  unsubstantiated claims for the facts.

The far right, which is now dominant in the conservative movement, base many of their positions on ideas which are contrary to fact. The smarter ones among them, who realize that most of what they say is fiction, understand the damage a scientific mind set would do to their beliefs.

Conservative claims about WMD and ties between Saddam and al Qaeda do not hold up to those who seek objective truth. Conservatives base their attacks on liberals, including this latest one from Beck, upon tremendous distortions of liberal beliefs which do not hold up for people who seek out actual evidence of liberal beliefs. While the free market generally is the best solution, their ideology demands that this be true one hundred percent of the time and therefore conservatives often feel compelled to distort the truth when wrong. They can’t have people looking at the evidence in an objective, scientific manner. Perhaps worst of all, their alliance with the religious right is threatened by acknowledgement of the basic facts of modern biology.

The authoritarian right hates science because they do not want you to look at things objectively or to weight the facts. As is typical of authoritarian movements, they want you to blindly accept what they say. After all, if the American people had been taking a close look during the nightmare years of Republican rule, they might have seen how their liberties were being stripped away and would not have stood for it.