Women

Corporate-Sponsored "Slacktivism": Bigger and More Dangerous than the Urban Dictionary Realizes

Recently while browsing the Web I came across UrbanDictionary.com, which is sort of a wiki of contemporary slang. I found some of the newer words listed there amusing, like "hobosexual" (the opposite of metrosexual; someone who cares little about their looks), "consumerican," ("a particularly American brand of consumerism"), and "wikidemia" ("an academic work passed off as scholarly yet researched entirely on Wikipedia").

"10 Percent Intellectual": The Mind of Condoleezza Rice

Condoleezza Rice deplaning

"I tell my students that policy-making is 90 percent blocking and tackling and 10 percent intellectual."--Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, cited in Mary Beth Brown, Condi: The Life of a Steel Magnolia (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc, 2007), p. 180.

"When you never accomplish anything, your weekly summary of what you've done all week is just a bunch of 'accondishments' -- how you've filled the days."--Noah, a reader of "Princess Sparkle Pony's Photo Blog: I keep track of Condoleezza's hairdo so you don't have to" (May 5, 2008).

Notwithstanding the low poll numbers of the president she serves, US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is one of the few people within the Bush administration who has managed to remain relatively unscathed by the public and by pundits. Unlike some in the president's entourage who have left Washington due to criticisms of their performance or ethics, Rice's current standing at home is sufficiently adequate from a PR perspective to allow her (up to now) to stay on in her job without too many embarrassments. True, there have been calls to remove her from her current position because of her recently disclosed role in the administration's use of torture. And doubts about Rice's qualifications as Bush's foreign-policy guru have existed for years, with, for example, her former National Security Council boss in the administration of George H.W. Bush, Brent Scowcroft, stating in 2005 that her "expertise is in the former Soviet Union and Europe. Less on the Middle East." More recently, an article by Patrick Seale, a British writer on the Middle East, talks about "The Tragic Futility of Condoleezza Rice."

But Condi, rising as she has from her solidly middle-class origins in Birmingham, Alabama to the highest echelons of the US government, remains a subject of admiration. Earlier this year the Harris Poll reported that Rice was "still the 'shining star' of the administration." A 2006 profile by BBC News gushed that "Rice's intellectual brilliance is undisputed," and she "has consistently been one of the most popular members of the Bush administration." Pundits have repeatedly floated her name as a possible Republican vice presidential running mate for John McCain. "For a party that up to now has been clueless about how to run against either a woman or a person of color, Condoleezza Rice is pure political gold," explained Nicholas Von Hoffman in a commentary for CBS News.

In fact, Rice's genius and foreign-policy expertise are more image than substance, as recent biographies by Elisabeth Bumiller and Marcus Mabry suggest. In her ascendance to power, Rice's main instrument has not been ground-breaking thinking about important international issues, but rather what Mabry characterizes as "her phenomenal skill at spinning."

Nestling into the British Government

Bottle-feeding a babyAs CMD has reported previously, the infant formula industry in the U.S. is committed to making sure that women aren't, as they put it, made to feel guilty about not breast feeding. But it seems that formula producers are also looking to make inroads in Europe, where rates of breast feeding are far higher than in the U.S.

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MoveOn and Fenton PR Launch Liberal Advertising Consortium

AdAge reports that Fenton Communications and its client MoveOn.org have announced a politically liberal advertising consortium using corporate advertising executives and firms to "help change the playing field this year. ... At the moment it will go after presumptive Republican nominee Senator John McCain. ...

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New Kids' Book on Plastic Surgery Skirts Breasts

How does a mother explain to her children why she's having a breast augmentation, a tummy tuck or a nose job? Help is on the way -- a new book for kids about plastic surgery, My Beautiful Mommy. The story features a handsome, musclebound, superhero-type male doctor and a Mommy who says that as she got older, she couldn't fit into her clothes any more. Mom explains to her child that the doctor is going to help her fix all that. Mom comes home after surgery looking slightly bruised and bandaged, but with fuller, higher breasts.

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Auto Racing for Clean Air?

Nuclear Energy Institute coasterSwiss auto racer Simona De Silvestro isn't only "the second woman in the 34-year history of the Cooper Tires Presents The Atlantic Championship Powered by Mazda to win a race with her victory in the Imperial Capital Bank Atlantic Challenge of Long Beach." Believe it or not, there's another sponsor involved -- the U.S.

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University Helps Censor "One-Sided" Science

Administrators of "Popline," the "world's largest scientific database on reproductive health," which is housed at the Johns Hopkins University's School of Public Health, "blocked the word 'abortion' as a search term after receiving a complaint from the Bush administration over two abortion-related articles listed in the database." The search block has since been

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When "Civil Rights" Means Ending Affirmative Action

Ward ConnerlyPeople in Colorado who signed an anti-affirmative action ballot initiative petition are charging that petition circulators deceived them about the measure's real purpose and intent.

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Anti-Abortionists Hijack "Horton"

When some people in the audience at the premiere of the new Dr. Suess movie "Horton Hears a Who" started yelling "A person's a person no matter how small," others thought they were just over-enthusiastic Dr. Suess fans. Instead, it turned out that a pack of anti-abortion activists had hijacked the elephant star's famous line to promote their view that abortion should be banned.

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