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Well folks, according to Internet memes, we figured out what the important issues are in this presidential election; and I have to tell you, it’s brought to you by the letter “B.”  Binders, Big Bird, and Bayonets.  That’s it.  End of story.  Make your voting decisions based on that.  Just kidding!  All joking aside, in the presidential debates and in this third and final presidential debate, which was focused on foreign policy, I was absolutely, positively delighted to hear both President Barack Obama and Governor Romney speak to the issue of gender equality. Unfortunately, Governor Romney only spoke to the issue of gender equality when he was mentioning a list of policies that were important outside of the United States of America's borders; and he has yet to actually talk about gender equality, fair pay, the Paycheck Fairness Act, the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Restoration Act, or anything dealing with paycheck fairness for women inside the United States. After the many debates, we are still waiting.  The election is close and one can only hope that he’ll come out and tell us where he stands but I’m not holding my breath anymore.  I have to admit it.

On this show, we’re going talk about that debate with experts.  We’re going to talk about that debate with policy advocates.  We’re going to talk about the whole campaign cycle and the campaign trail.  We’re going to hear what’s going on, what’s being said, and not said, about human rights, both inside the United States and around the world.  And we’re going to talk about foreign policy, domestic policy, voter suppression; and we’re going to cap it all off with an exciting conversation about how to use political pumpkin carving as a stress relief.  We’ve got some great stencils.  We’ve got some great political games that you can play with kids or with your peers.  And we’re going to talk with craft makers about how to do it.  So not only are we going to cover foreign policy, we’re also going to cover pumpkin policy.

**You can hear the whole show now by clicking here to get the podcast:

Special guests include:

  • Gayle Tzemach, Author of the best-selling book The Dressmaker of Khair Khana. Journalist and fellow at the Counsel on Foreign Relations
  • Rashad Robinson, Executive Director of ColorofChange
  • Mark Levine, Former congressional attorney, Talk-Show Host on the We Act Radio network and a Senior fellow at the Truman National Security Project
  • Michelle Ringuette, Chief of Campaigns & programs at Amnesty International
  • Ruth Martin, Campaign Director at  MomsRising
  • Sarah Francis, Campaign Director at MomsRising

***LISTEN to the entire “MomsRising with Kristin Rowe-Finkbeiner” radio show here:


Bayonets, Big Birds & Binders MomsRising Radio with Kristin Rowe-Finkbeiner Highlights:

Gayle Tzemach is the author of the best-selling book The Dressmaker of Khair Khana.  She’s a journalist and a fellow at the Counsel on Foreign Relations:

On war and the election: (At 2:45 on iTunes

“...The era of big military interventions is over.  Even Governor Romney, who has been less effusive about the President’s push to withdraw from Afghanistan in 2014, in terms of their deadline and its announcement, really did not differentiate himself from the President on Afghanistan.  He did not want to say that he was for more troops remaining in Iraq and really said that in the case of Syria, you would not see a lot of military troops, or military intervention, if there were a President Romney.  So, I think what you see is an exhausted country really facing their first post-September 11thelection which does not have a foreign policy at its center.”

Rashad Robinson is the executive director of ColorofChange 

On the bayonets and ships comment: (At 15:15 on iTunes

"I think my favorite moment in this last debate was the pushback around bayonets and ships… Not so much because of a joke factor but because I think we do need to have a lot of conversation in this country about our priorities and in particular, the overwhelming amount of our budget that still goes to the military, still goes to fighting wars around the world while we leave issues on the table here, such as public education, such as improving our inner city communities, such as dealing with a lot of the crisis we have with the overcrowded prison population.  There’s so much work that can be done here at home and we often times focus so much energy on our military.”

On the importance of exercising your right to vote: (At 18:12 on iTunes

“I like to think of voting as sort of an exercise analogy.  Voting is sort of like the stretching of civic participation.  It is not going to help you lose that last five pounds but it will hurt if you don’t do it.  And so we have to stretch right, but we also have to do the other work of running the race of lifting the weights and all the other things that are going to make our democracy work.”

On winning the effort against Clear Channel to remove voter suppression billboards: (At 20:08 on iTunes

“What they were trying to deal with was creating a sense of fear and unease as people were going to the voting booths and if you could sort of shave off enough percentages of black and brown voters, you can potentially then elect more conservative members to state legislatures, city councils, and even the presidency, because these billboards were in fact put up in swing states.  What made these billboards so egregious was that they were put up by an anonymous donor and so when our organization and others mobilized to push back, and hold Clear Channel accountable, we didn’t have the funder to hold accountable because Clear Channel basically gave these funders cover…”

Mark Levine is a former congressional attorney and is currently a talk-show host on the We Act Radio network and he’s also a senior fellow at the Truman National Security Project

On pay equality (At 33:50 on iTunes

“Romney doesn’t know whether or not women should be paid the same as men for the same work, and because he didn’t want to say that to the woman asking in the Town Hall Meeting, because she would have been shocked and then might have been booed and frankly, he’s trying to pretend with his magic Etch-A-Sketch to be a moderate that he’s not and is talking all over the map, he decided, “Well I’m not going talk about pay equity because I don’t support it.  Instead I’m going to talk about all these women I hired…”

“When he hired those women, he recognized that since women want to be home at 5 o’clock to take care of the kids and make dinner for their husbands, he had to have a flexible work program.  And I’m thinking to myself, well first of all, you should have a flexible work program for all parents, men or women, ‘cause there are lots of stay at home dads and there are lots of dads who work and take care of their kids, and yes make dinner.  So number one, it should be available for everyone.  But number two, what is this idea that women and not men need to take care of the kids.  Women and not men need to make dinner.  Every parent recognizes the difficulties between work and home life and the way that he was putting it on women just reminded me, this is a guy that lives in the 1950s.”

Michelle Ringuette is the Chief of Campaigns & Programs at Amnesty International

On universal human rights and the justice system (At 45:05 on iTunes

"...Amnesty just recently released a report about the long-term solitary confinement that’s been happening in California prisons and when you start hearing these stories of individuals who for a non-violent action or indiscretion in prison, suddenly ending up spending 20 years in solitary confinement,  you can only imagine that there’s absolutely limited hope for that point that anyone can be adjudicated and can somehow be rehabilitated. There has to be focused attention on whether or not we ourselves are upholding the rights of all people."

“There’s a real issue around the school-to-prison pipeline that we’ve been seeing around the country where from a very early age, young people, particularly young black boys, are being sort of picked up as truant or they’re being suspended out of school and then they’re put into the system”

Sarah Francis, Campaign Director at MomsRising

On creating monster beanbags to relieve some election time stress (At 49:44 on iTunes

“So, I have been making beanbags for my kid forever since he was born because there is nothing like tossing around a beanbag. I think that just draws their attention permanently.  It’s safe.  It’s easy.  You can do them in different shapes. So what we created this election and Halloween season is a great, easy-to-make craft that you can do with your kids and then also get out some of the election stress. ”

Ruth Martin, Campaign Director MomsRising

On simple pumpkin carving: (At 54:24 on iTunes

“I love to carve pumpkins.  This has been a big stress reliever for me for many, many years… Okay well, here’s the secret.  It’s not a secret and I’m going to be completely honest with you -- carving pumpkins is ridiculously easy but when you do these kind of fun designs that are a little outside the pumpkin box, people think you’re amazing and you get all this credit, which is nice.  It’s a nice pat on the back.”

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