More on Chinese Women, Obama's Win List, TSA

Followup on several recent items:

1) Last night I mentioned the juxtaposition of International Women's Day with People's Daily tame-cheesecake coverage of China's big political confabs going on now. A reader in Beijing writes:

Re the 'beautiful women' articles... you might give a plug for Didi Tatlow's recent piece in the NYT/IHT.  If anything I think she has understated the problem -- women's role in society is one area in which China has been unambiguously losing ground for the last couple of decades.

The article is sobering, especially in contrast with this more upbeat take. Sample from Tatlow's:

Women's incomes [in China] are falling relative to men's; traditional attitudes are relegating women to the home; and women's net wealth may be shrinking. While female parliamentary representation elsewhere is rising, the percentage of women in China's national legislature, the National People's Congress, has flat-lined for decades at just over 20 percent....

China -- such a rising force in other fields -- is not emulating India, Europe, Latin America or African nations like South Africa and Rwanda in thrusting women to the fore.

In part, this is because the Communists fear exactly what they see in Ms. Liu [a woman who has run for office.]: an individual demanding rights in a one-party state. As she put it, "Actually, the problem is that no Chinese citizen has any status."

2) On the ongoing effort to make sense of President Obama, Paul Glastris has a new article in The Washington Monthly, whose analysis ("The Incomplete Greatness of Barack Obama") makes sense to me. A bonus of his presentation, compared with other election-year analyses, is a ranked list of "Obama's Top 50 Accomplishments." The White House speechwriters should pay attention (and so should actual voters).

In my Obama article, I talked about the pluses and minuses of the prominence of Clinton-era veterans in the Obama administration. Glastris addresses that point directly in his editor's note, and says that the interaction reflects well on the Clinton and Obama presidencies alike.

3) Yesterday Jeffrey Goldberg posted one of the latest TSA-skeptic videos that has drawn a lot of attention (ie, that many people have graciously been emailing me about), plus a TSA response. The other recent critique, if anything more pointed and fundamental, is here. More ahead on this topic, but for the moment these are both important to consider.

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James Fallows is a national correspondent for The Atlantic and has written for the magazine since the late 1970s. He has reported extensively from outside the United States and once worked as President Carter's chief speechwriter. His latest book is China Airborne. More

James Fallows is based in Washington as a national correspondent for The Atlantic. He has worked for the magazine for nearly 30 years and in that time has also lived in Seattle, Berkeley, Austin, Tokyo, Kuala Lumpur, Shanghai, and Beijing. He was raised in Redlands, California, received his undergraduate degree in American history and literature from Harvard, and received a graduate degree in economics from Oxford as a Rhodes scholar. In addition to working for The Atlantic, he has spent two years as chief White House speechwriter for Jimmy Carter, two years as the editor of US News & World Report, and six months as a program designer at Microsoft. He is an instrument-rated private pilot. He is also now the chair in U.S. media at the U.S. Studies Centre at the University of Sydney, in Australia.

Fallows has been a finalist for the National Magazine Award five times and has won once; he has also won the American Book Award for nonfiction and a N.Y. Emmy award for the documentary series Doing Business in China. He was the founding chairman of the New America Foundation. His recent books Blind Into Baghdad (2006) and Postcards From Tomorrow Square (2009) are based on his writings for The Atlantic. His latest book is China Airborne. He is married to Deborah Fallows, author of the recent book Dreaming in Chinese. They have two married sons.

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