Garance Franke-Ruta is a senior editor covering national politics at The Atlantic. More
She was previously national web politics editor at The Washington Post, and has also worked at The American Prospect, The Washington City Paper, The New Republic and National Journal magazines. At The Prospect she won the 2007 Hillman Prize awarded to its group blog, "Tapped."
In 2006, she was fellow at the Joan Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics and Public Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School in Cambridge, Mass., and in 2007, a summer fellow with The Iowa Independent, based in Des Moines, Iowa.
Garance has lectured at the Kennedy School, the Harvard Art Museums, Williams College, Wellesley College, Brandeis and Georgetown Universities, and taught in Georgetown's Master of Professional Studies in Journalism program. She also has made numerous appearances on national and regional television and radio programs.
Born in the South of France, Garance grew up in San Cristobal de las Casas in Chiapas, Mexico; New York City, New York; and Santa Fe, New Mexico. She has resided in Washington, D.C., since graduating from Harvard in 1997.
Questioned by reporters Tuesday in Jackson, Barbour said he doesn't think Mississippi legislators will approve the [Nathan Bedford] Forrest license plate proposed by the Sons of Confederate Veterans. The group wants the car tag in 2014 as part of a series of Civil War license plates. Mississippi NAACP president Derrick Johnson has called on Barbour to denounce the license plate idea. Asked about that Tuesday, Barbour replied: "I don't go around denouncing people."Barbour has previously come under fire for remarks making light of the civil rights struggle in Mississippi when he was a young man -- remarks he later recanted. For more on the present controversy, see earlier: "Will Haley Barbour Condemn Effort to Honor KKK Founder?"
On Friday February 11, the day Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak stepped down, CBS Correspondent Lara Logan was covering the jubilation in Tahrir Square for a 60 MINUTES story when she and her team and their security were surrounded by a dangerous element amidst the celebration. It was a mob of more than 200 people whipped into a frenzy. In the crush of the mob, she was separated from her crew. She was surrounded and suffered a brutal and sustained sexual assault and beating before being saved by a group of women and an estimated 20 Egyptian soldiers. She reconnected with the CBS team, returned to her hotel and returned to the United States on the first flight the next morning. She is currently in the hospital recovering. There will be no further comment from CBS News and Correspondent Logan and her family respectfully request privacy at this time.Most mainstream American news outlets have a policy of not naming the survivors of sexual assault and it is hard to imagine that CBS would have issued this statement, which landed like a thunderbolt in the close-knit media world, without Logan's permission. That makes her one very brave woman, as news of the attack ricocheted across Twitter and newspapers with lightning speed. The Columbia Journalism Review in 2007 published a lengthy look at the risk of sexual assault and harassment female foreign correspondents face while on assignment overseas. Its lede describes a situation that sounds similar to that faced by Logan, though with a quicker intervention from Good Samaritans:
The photographer was a seasoned operator in South Asia. So when she set forth on an assignment in India, she knew how to guard against gropers: dress modestly in jeans secured with a thick belt and take along a male companion. All those preparations failed, however, when an unruly crowd surged and swept away her colleague. She was pushed into a ditch, where several men set upon her, tearing at her clothes and baying for sex. They ripped the buttons off her shirt and set to work on her trousers. "My first thought was my cameras," recalls the photographer, who asked to remain anonymous. "Then it was, 'Oh my God, I'm going to be raped.' " With her faced pressed into the soil, she couldn't shout for help, and no one would have heard her anyway above the mob's taunts. Suddenly a Good Samaritan in the crowd pulled the photographer by the camera straps several yards to the feet of some policemen who had been watching the scene without intervening. They sneered at her exposed chest, but escorted her to safety.CJR doesn't have the whole thing online but a full version of the story can be read via this PDF (via @lizzieohreally). Politico notes that Logan, who was detained with her crew in Egypt earlier in the month and forced to leave the country, went back out of a sense of personal obligation to tell the story of the uprising:
TIME magazine reported on February 3 that Logan was detained and, on February 7, she told Charlie Rose that she was accused of being a spy. "There was no question after what we were subjected to that we were not safe and were, were now targeted," said Logan, adding that that "can very easily get you killed and you better take it seriously." Still, she told that she was disappointed in herself as a journalist over the episode and upset that she was unable to keep reporting. "It's very hard for me to be away from this story," said Logan. "I feel in one sense like a failure professionally. I feel like I failed because I didn't deliver and I take that responsibility very seriously. ... Fundamentally it is in my blood to be there and to be on the streets and to be listening to people and to do the best reporting that I can." "You try to be smart about these things and, yes, I would go back. It would depend entirely on the circumstances."
The Mississippi NAACP has called on Gov. Haley Barbour to publicly denounce an attempt by a Confederacy group to honor a Ku Klux Klan leader, the organization said Monday. The Sons of Confederate Veterans has launched the campaign to recognize Confederate Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest on a specialty license plate. Forrest, a popular and controversial figure, is best known as a leader of the KKK, the white supremacist group known for terrorizing blacks in the South after the Civil War. He is also praised and criticized for an 1864 raid at Fort Pillow, Tennessee, where hundreds of black Union Army members were killed during the war. The controversy over whether Forrest conducted or condoned the massacre is still a matter for heated debate. Mississippi NAACP leaders feel a state-sanctioned license plate honoring a man with ties to the KKK sends the wrong message to people in the state and across the country. "Any individual who was a traitor to our country and our constitution should be treated as such," said Derrick Johnson, president of the state NAACP chapter.... Barbour has not responded to the controversy since it began making headlines last week.... A call to the governor's office from CNN on Monday has not been returned.Yes, the NAACP goes out of its way to make life difficult for some Republican leaders, and the tensions have also gone the other way -- who can forget the fraught relationship between the national group's leaders and George W. Bush? -- but this is the kind of thing that would be an easy call for the leader of a state with a less toxic racial history. And it's the kind of thing anyone with national political ambitions should have an easy answer to. Barbour, uniquely among the potential 2012 presidential candidates, is poorly situated on questions of race in America thanks to not just the history of his state, but its present political realities.
The results of the CPAC straw poll of presidential candidates are in, and the winner is Ron Paul, with 30% of the vote. Mitt Romney was the runner-up with 23%, and all other candidates tied with about 6% each. 84% of the voters identified themselves as fiscal conservatives, placing their highest priority on economic growth and restraining the growth of government.Kasie Hunt explained in Politico this morning why Paul -- who also won last year -- was likely to win again, and how Paul's supporters have pursued a strategy of swamping straw polls at conservative and Republican events around the country. She writes:
While his ardent supporters aren't numerous enough to win him actual primaries or caucuses, they've mastered the unofficial straw poll format and they've decided those informal polls send an important message. Case in point: The Paul forces are already organizing for June's Republican Leadership Conference and Ronald Reagan Centennial Celebration straw poll and Iowa's traditional Ames straw poll in August.... The Paul supporters are almost obsessive about the polls, and they have one goal: to get the media's attention in an attempt to prove Paul is a viable candidate for president.... The results of the grass-roots straw poll efforts speak for themselves: Paul won the 2010 CPAC poll and finished second behind former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney in the 2010 Southern Republican Leadership Conference poll -- by just one vote. He also placed second in New Hampshire's WMUR/ABC News straw poll of state Republican Party activists in January. During the 2008 presidential election, Paul won small straw polls in at least 10 states. He rarely broke into double-digits in the real caucuses or primaries that year, but he would often win by a landslide in the straw polls -- he took 4 percent in the Arizona primary, for example, but swept a Phoenix straw poll with 80 percent of the vote.National Review assessed the meaning of the win:
CPAC brass played down the results. "The straw poll is not a poll; the straw poll is entertainment for the people that are here," says David Keene, the former president of the American Conservative Union, in an interview with National Review Online. "He won it last time because he was the only one running. Even I could win it if I was the only one running. He is the only one who seems to focus on it exclusively." Grover Norquist, the influential taxpayer advocate, tells NRO that Paul's win is far from meaningless. "If you are running for president, you need to be able to connect with the activists," he says. "This is a measure of how connected you are to activists, especially the young activists. Some people talk about the money primary -- this is the activist primary." Paul's growing following on the right, Norquist predicts, could shake up the 2012 race, especially on issues close to the Texas congressman, like monetary policy. "It's like 1988, when Pat Robertson ran for president," he observes. "Robertson brought a whole collection of people into the Republican party." While acknowledging that some Republicans find Paul supporters "strange" for their dogged focus on the Federal Reserve, the fresh faces, Norquist says, are "very healthy" for the future of the GOP.Thumbnail image credit: AP Photo/Alex Brandon
Good afternoon, everybody. There are very few moments in our lives where we have the privilege to witness history taking place. This is one of those moments. This is one of those times. The people of Egypt have spoken, their voices have been heard, and Egypt will never be the same. By stepping down, President Mubarak responded to the Egyptian people's hunger for change. But this is not the end of Egypt's transition. It's a beginning. I'm sure there will be difficult days ahead, and many questions remain unanswered. But I am confident that the people of Egypt can find the answers, and do so peacefully, constructively, and in the spirit of unity that has defined these last few weeks. For Egyptians have made it clear that nothing less than genuine democracy will carry the day. The military has served patriotically and responsibly as a caretaker to the state, and will now have to ensure a transition that is credible in the eyes of the Egyptian people. That means protecting the rights of Egypt's citizens, lifting the emergency law, revising the constitution and other laws to make this change irreversible, and laying out a clear path to elections that are fair and free. Above all, this transition must bring all of Egypt's voices to the table. For the spirit of peaceful protest and perseverance that the Egyptian people have shown can serve as a powerful wind at the back of this change. The United States will continue to be a friend and partner to Egypt. We stand ready to provide whatever assistance is necessary -- and asked for -- to pursue a credible transition to a democracy. I'm also confident that the same ingenuity and entrepreneurial spirit that the young people of Egypt have shown in recent days can be harnessed to create new opportunity -- jobs and businesses that allow the extraordinary potential of this generation to take flight. And I know that a democratic Egypt can advance its role of responsible leadership not only in the region but around the world. Egypt has played a pivotal role in human history for over 6,000 years. But over the last few weeks, the wheel of history turned at a blinding pace as the Egyptian people demanded their universal rights. We saw mothers and fathers carrying their children on their shoulders to show them what true freedom might look like. We saw a young Egyptian say, "For the first time in my life, I really count. My voice is heard. Even though I'm only one person, this is the way real democracy works." We saw protesters chant "Selmiyya, selmiyya" -- "We are peaceful" -- again and again. We saw a military that would not fire bullets at the people they were sworn to protect. And we saw doctors and nurses rushing into the streets to care for those who were wounded, volunteers checking protesters to ensure that they were unarmed. We saw people of faith praying together and chanting - "Muslims, Christians, We are one." And though we know that the strains between faiths still divide too many in this world and no single event will close that chasm immediately, these scenes remind us that we need not be defined by our differences. We can be defined by the common humanity that we share. And above all, we saw a new generation emerge -- a generation that uses their own creativity and talent and technology to call for a government that represented their hopes and not their fears; a government that is responsive to their boundless aspirations. One Egyptian put it simply: Most people have discovered in the last few days...that they are worth something, and this cannot be taken away from them anymore, ever. This is the power of human dignity, and it can never be denied. Egyptians have inspired us, and they've done so by putting the lie to the idea that justice is best gained through violence. For in Egypt, it was the moral force of nonviolence -- not terrorism, not mindless killing -- but nonviolence, moral force that bent the arc of history toward justice once more. And while the sights and sounds that we heard were entirely Egyptian, we can't help but hear the echoes of history -- echoes from Germans tearing down a wall, Indonesian students taking to the streets, Gandhi leading his people down the path of justice. As Martin Luther King said in celebrating the birth of a new nation in Ghana while trying to perfect his own, "There is something in the soul that cries out for freedom." Those were the cries that came from Tahrir Square, and the entire world has taken note. Today belongs to the people of Egypt, and the American people are moved by these scenes in Cairo and across Egypt because of who we are as a people and the kind of world that we want our children to grow up in. The word Tahrir means liberation. It is a word that speaks to that something in our souls that cries out for freedom. And forevermore it will remind us of the Egyptian people -- of what they did, of the things that they stood for, and how they changed their country, and in doing so changed the world. Thank you.Thumbnail image credit: White House
The Egyptian people have been told that there was a transition of authority, but it is not yet clear that this transition is immediate, meaningful or sufficient. Too many Egyptians remain unconvinced that the government is serious about a genuine transition to democracy, and it is the responsibility of the government to speak clearly to the Egyptian people and the world. The Egyptian government must put forward a credible, concrete and unequivocal path toward genuine democracy, and they have not yet seized that opportunity. As we have said from the beginning of this unrest, the future of Egypt will be determined by the Egyptian people. But the United States has also been clear that we stand for a set of core principles. We believe that the universal rights of the Egyptian people must be respected, and their aspirations must be met. We believe that this transition must immediately demonstrate irreversible political change, and a negotiated path to democracy. To that end, we believe that the emergency law should be lifted. We believe that meaningful negotiations with the broad opposition and Egyptian civil society should address the key questions confronting Egypt's future: protecting the fundamental rights of all citizens; revising the Constitution and other laws to demonstrate irreversible change; and jointly developing a clear roadmap to elections that are free and fair. We therefore urge the Egyptian government to move swiftly to explain the changes that have been made, and to spell out in clear and unambiguous language the step by step process that will lead to democracy and the representative government that the Egyptian people seek. Going forward, it will be essential that the universal rights of the Egyptian people be respected. There must be restraint by all parties. Violence must be forsaken. It is imperative that the government not respond to the aspirations of their people with repression or brutality. The voices of the Egyptian people must be heard. The Egyptian people have made it clear that there is no going back to the way things were: Egypt has changed, and its future is in the hands of the people. Those who have exercised their right to peaceful assembly represent the greatness of the Egyptian people, and are broadly representative of Egyptian society. We have seen young and old, rich and poor, Muslim and Christian join together, and earn the respect of the world through their non-violent calls for change. In that effort, young people have been at the forefront, and a new generation has emerged. They have made it clear that Egypt must reflect their hopes, fulfill their highest aspirations, and tap their boundless potential. In these difficult times, I know that the Egyptian people will persevere, and they must know that they will continue to have a friend in the United States of America.Thumbnail image credit: White House
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