Short Takes: News From All Over

MSNBC Democratic Debate Coverage Rife with Sexist Stereotypes
By Media Matters
It looks like our political campaigns may be devolving yet further — from popularity contests to beauty contests. Sexist remarks and stereotypes were rampant in MSNBC’s coverage of last week’s Democratic presidential debate, according to the media watchdog Media Matters. Senator Hillary Clinton, the lone woman on stage with seven men, was described by MSNBC correspondent Chris Matthews as ‘demure’ and ‘ladylike.’ Matthews also noted that Barak Obama’s wife, Michelle (a Harvard-educated lawyer), ‘looked perfect’ and ‘well-turned out… attractive — classy, as we used to say.’ — Bennett Gordon

The Baghdad Wall
Photo Essay by Al Jazeera
The US military is building a 3.5 meter-high and three-mile-long concrete barrier to enclose the Adhamiyah district of Baghdad. Many Iraqis vehemently oppose the ‘security wall,’ believing it will segment the city along sectarian lines. A photo essay compiled by the Al Jazeera news service tracks the evolution of the wall and includes a few stunning shots of Iraqi artists transforming the wall into a sprawling concrete canvas, painting bright murals over the drab enclosure. (For another take on the wall, check out Jon Stewart’s item on the project: ‘Extreme Makeover: Baghdad Edition.’) — Bennett Gordon

The Case For Filet Of Filly
By Sharon O’Toole, High Country News
In an essay for High Country News, Sharon O’Toole discusses the closure of the last horse-slaughter plant in the United States and argues that not only is slaughtering horses and using them for meat more cost effective, it’s more humane and environmentally friendly. While the idea of horse burgers may not appeal to everyone, O’Toole points out that the disposal of horse carcasses is both costly and difficult, and if the horse has been euthanized with hazardous chemicals it could even lead to environmental damage. –Chris Gehrke

A.D.: New Orleans After the Deluge
By Josh Neufeld, SMITH Magazine
Graphic artist Josh Neufeld, a Red Cross volunteer and artist for Harvey Pekar’s American Splendor, depicts the real-life stories of New Orleans residents caught in the desperate first moments of Hurricane Katrina, their harrowing stories of survival, and the equally compelling stories of people learning to cope with the storm’s aftermath. Installments of the A.D.: New Orleans After the Deluge, podcasts with the actual people featured in the webcomic, and a ‘NOLA Resource Library’ are all available for free on SMITH‘s website. — Bennett Gordon

What Is a Gongo?
By Mois?s Na?m, Foreign Policy
The definition of a ‘gongo’ reads like a Kafkaesque oxymoron: a government-sponsored nongovernmental organization. That may already raise flags for many, but what most concerns Foreign Policy editor Mois?s Na?m are the governments that use nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) as fronts for their own dangerous agendas within their own countries and abroad. Na?m writes that there needs to be an ‘independent and credible source’ charged with determining the independence of NGOs, their backers, and their goals. He warns that without transparency in civil society, the uncivil gongos make it tougher on the truly well-intentioned NGOs of the world. — Natalie Hudson

What the Youth Know
By Sergio Bendixen, New America Media
The future looks bright, if a cell phone-based poll targeting 16-22 year old Californians is any indication. The survey conducted by Bendixen and Associates together with New America Media sought to tap the minds of today’s youth for a window into our country’s future race and identity relations. Bendixen reports that the 600 youths polled overwhelmingly embrace diversity and consider it a strength in their state, which the firm’s head, Sergio Bendixen, notes has been ‘long perceived as a bellwether for the rest of the nation.’ He goes on: ‘When asked what defines their identity,’ respondents were ‘as apt to cite fashion and music as they were race or ethnicity.’ — Natalie Hudson

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