CBS Women Knock One Out of the Park: Despite a year that threatened to usher Katie Couric, 51, out of the anchor chair at CBS News, she and her team won the Edward R. Murrow Award yesterday, for their August 9 broadcast and for continued coverage of the war in Iraq.  In a statement, CBS Evening News Executive Producer Rick Kaplan lauded Couric and reporter Lara Logan:

“I’m very proud of all the women and men of CBS News who have been
honored by winning so many of the Edward R. Murrow Awards. The CBS
Evening News with Katie Couric winning a Murrow on what many would call
an average news day just illustrates that the broadcast is a stand-out,
on any given day. Katie and the team work diligently every day and it
really is gratifying when your work is recognized. Lara Logan’s series
for the Evening News about American troops in Baghdad is just part of
the great journalism Lara brings to viewers in her fearless and
insightful reporting.

My congratulations go out to everyone at the
various CBS News broadcasts, radio and website who were recipients

In addition to the Best Newscast Award and a Continuing Coverage award
for Lara Logan’s “Boots on the Ground” series,  Kimberly Dozier, 42, picked
up another laurel for her already Peabody-winning “CBS News Sunday
Morning: The Way Home” special about two returning women veterans. As WVFC reported last month,Dozier’s recovery from a 2006 Baghdad car-bomb has kept her more determined than ever to keep the spotlight on that near-forgotten war.  Last month, Dozier  (seen here with Army Specialist Michael Flores) wrote in Newsweek:

Once the rescue team got me to the Baghdad casualty hospital, I
technically died about five times, or rather, I “coded.” I just met one
of the doctors who did the chest compressions on me. He complained that
I “tried to die for two hours.” (You won, doc.) Then came the pain of
two-dozen-plus surgeries, the whole learning-to-walk thing, more
surgery and the slow return to jogging, then running. Throughout the
first six months, there was the ever-present wallop of grief and guilt
that comes from surviving when those around you have died.

So I was driven to write it down—or rather, suckered into it. The
counselor and the Franciscan monk at Bethesda naval hospital who
tricked me into it knew they were sending me on the most painful
reporting assignment of my life. At first I cried every couple of
pages, every few hundred words. I wanted to chuck my computer out the

That was a year and a half ago. I ended up rewriting the first nine chapters about five times. Then I was told by
multiple publishers, “Too raw. Too much medical detail. Too emotional.”
And also, “Sorry, but books on Iraq don’t sell. The public doesn’t want
to hear about that anymore.”

Well, the public needs to hear about this. I remember in the early years of the wars we seldom
ever reported the “injured” figures from Iraq or Afghanistan—just the
deaths. I got to live firsthand what we were ignoring: a long, painful
journey of a year or more to get back to some semblance of normal, the
same journey of more than 30,000 combat-injured from Iraq and

Along with the physical battle is the one in your heart and soul—making sure memories of the trauma and violence,
and the grief that follows, do not end up haunting you for the rest of
time. I dealt with it head-on in the hospital—talking about the bombing
even when some doctors told me to shut up and shut it out. What helped
more was meeting troops from my patrol, and U.S. commanders who had
gone through the same thing, and even other trauma survivors who were
well versed in the art of recovery.

Resume Surgery: Doesn’t Hurt a Bit, Might Just Work.

Find yourself repeatedly passed over for job interviews despite — or perhaps because of — a wealth of appropriate skills and experience? According to this week’s Wall Street Journal, the answer could be in changing your resume to minimize the age effect. Our friends at Broadsheet first alerted us to the un-ironically titled “Botox for the Résumé: One Woman’s Image Makeover”:

At age 49, Lisa Johnson Mandell found her career “kind of sputtering.” After 20-plus years as an
entertainment broadcaster and film reviewer, she began to see jobs she
applied for going to people she knew were younger. “I kept thinking,
‘There has got to be someone out there who will value my experience,'”
she says.

Her husband, Jim Mandell, president of a Hollywood voiceover agency,
told her frankly, “People are rejecting you out of hand because you are
too old.” Mr. Mandell, 60, concedes that his advice to his wife came from his own
biases at his agency. “I unfortunately believe that I am of the same
mind-set that most other people are — that younger is better,” he says.

This came as a shock to Ms. Johnson Mandell, a bubbly extrovert. “Who
would ever dream that ’20-plus years of experience’ would be a
liability?” she said earlier this year, referring to a selling point
typed at the top of her résumé. “These are strange times.”

Yet she resisted the urge to turn to surgery or cosmetic procedures and
started eliminating the age lines from her job search instead. On her
résumé, she removed the 1980 date of her summa-cum-laude college
graduation and deleted some early jobs.

But isn’t that deceptive? you may cry. Wasn’t an altered resume what
got that university administrator in Virginia in so much trouble? Not
if all you’re doing is cutting, say experts consulted separately by WSJ
and Salon.

Removing early jobs and dates is ethical, says Wendy Enelow, an
executive-career consultant. She says she often removes early jobs from
the résumés of candidates in their late 40s, focusing on their past 10
to 15 years of experience.

And in case you’re still not sure, here are Johnson’s results:

Within a week, she was being approached for jobs and
has since signed on to two projects, which she estimates will bring in
an income over six figures. She also sent her new résumé to four
companies that hadn’t responded to the previous version — and this
time, they called her back. As she told the Journal, “It was with such
pleasure that I told them, ‘Thanks for the call, but I’m really tied up
right now.'”

Of course, had also “asked a young friend
to come over and help her pick out some outfits to wear for a
résumé/Web site photo shoot,” and included the resulting  photos -in
her updated résumé. Still, Newsmix is going off to trim that resume
right now, in case it’s only the 1984 graduation date that’s kept the
New Yorker from calling.

This is Our Challenge:  On Monday, the New York Times launched The New Old Age, a new blog by veteran reporter Jane Gross about the challenge of caring for elderly parents.

Thanks to the marvels of medical science, our parents are living longer
than ever before. Adults over age 80 are the fastest growing segment of
the population, and most will spend years dependent on others for the
most basic needs. That burden falls to their baby boomer children, 77
million strong, who are flummoxed by the technicalities of eldercare,
turned upside down by the changed architecture of their families,
struggling to balance work and caregiving, and depleting their own
retirement savings in the process.

In The New Old Age, Jane Gross explores this unprecedented
intergenerational challenge and shares the stories of readers, the
advice of professionals, and the wisdom gleaned from her own experience
caring for her mother in her waning years.

In addition to personal experience, Gross brings a career’s worth of
skill and insight in writing about American lives and families — including, most recently, living with Alzheimer’s and the crippling costs of eldercare.  As her brother Michael wrote this spring:

She was the first woman reporter ever in an NBA locker room while she was at Newsday; broke the story of the existence of crack; was one of the earliest reporters on the AIDS beat ; was the Times San
Francisco bureau chief for seven years, a Knight Fellow at Stanford,
and has six Pulitzer Prize nominations under her belt that I know of
(for stories on crack, AIDS, the last San Fran earthquake; and autism
and for the “children of shadows’’ series) and has been a pioneer in
writing about elder care and the elderly for the last year. Makes me
wonder what I’m doing with MY life!!!

Part of what how both Michael Gross and his sister spent much of the last decade was sorting out what to do about their mom. As Jane writes on her first blog post, they often felt like they were  improvising as the world spun around them:

When my
brother and I began this journey with my mother, who went from feisty
independence to utter reliance on her children in a matter of months,
we were making it up as we went along.

We knew nothing about entitlement programs. What do you mean Medicare
doesn’t cover the cost of home care or assisted living or a nursing
home? We knew nothing about the advantages and disadvantages of hiring
companions and aides through agencies or word-of-mouth. What do you
mean that the agency aide needs permission from a supervisor before
picking my mother off the floor if she falls?

We knew nothing about hospital discharge planning. What do you mean she
has to leave tomorrow when we have no place to take her? We knew
nothing about geriatric medicine. What do you mean emergency rooms and
intensive care units can cause a form of psychosis in the elderly, or
that a catheter can lead to an undiagnosed urinary tract infection and
even death?

We knew nothing about Medicaid spend-downs, continuing care retirement
communities, in-hospital versus out-of-hospital do-not-resuscitate
orders, Hoyer lifts, motorized wheelchairs or assistive devices for
people who can neither speak nor type. We knew nothing about “pre-need
consultants” who handle advance payment for the funerals of people who
aren’t dead yet, or “feeders” whose job it is to spoon pureed food into
the mouths of once-dignified men and women.

At the time, between 2000 and 2003, my brother and I felt terribly
isolated. As leading edge baby boomers and the children of older
parents, we were the first of our friends to go through the drawn-out
process of watching a mother or father grow more helpless with each
passing day until the role reversal put us squarely in charge of
everything. Once in charge, we had to rely on each other as never
before — sometimes perfectly in synch, other times at each other’s
throats. At work, the assistance available to new parents did not readily extend
to our situation, which was as laborious as child care but without the
joy or the promise for the future.

Gross goes on to say that she eventually became the person co-workers turned to as they tried to answer the same questions: “middle-aged men and women in growing numbers are
juggling their jobs, their parents’ increasing needs, frequent
emergencies and all the other moving parts of their lives. They look
stunned and very tired.” Thus, she says, the new blog:

I intend for it to be a source of information and community for grown children
faced with these new responsibilities, for the elderly adjusting to
unwelcome limitations and dependency, to employers interested in easing
the burden, for professionals in the field and for anyone else who
wants to chime in. Whining is permitted. Wisdom, and humor, are
especially welcome. For many caregivers, life is a round-the-clock vigil, an act of stoic devotion.

But She’s More Apple-pi.jpge Than You Are. In this week’s New Republic, Ed Kilgore writes that attempts to frame Michelle Obama as unpatriotic may be historically tempting for her husband’s political opponents.

In 1828, President John Quincy Adams’s reelection campaign reportedly
traded on innuendoes that Rachel Jackson had been imperfectly divorced
from her first husband. Since her second husband, Andrew Jackson, once
killed a man in a duel for the same insult to his wife’s honor, Adams
was perhaps lucky to lose no more than the presidency to Old

Fast forward to the mid-1970s, when Betty Ford’s controversial remarks
on “Sixty Minutes” supporting abortion rights and condoning premarital
sex became a lightning rod for conservative unhappiness with her
husband, who ultimately faced a tough 1976 primary challenge from
Ronald Reagan. Reagan’s own wife, Nancy, got a lot of early flack for
her White House consultations with astrologers, and later on, was
criticized by conservatives who thought she was tempering her husband’s
ideology out of concern for his historical reputation.

But all these skirmishes were merely a prelude to the savaging of
Hillary Clinton, who throughout the 1992 campaign and the entire
Clinton administration was variously denounced as some sort of
hyper-ideological Red Queen, as an enabler of her husband’s weaknesses,
as a hateful and humorless shrew, and in the far reaches of right-wing
crazyland, as a crook and even a murderer. Those who wonder about the
tenacious loyalty of many feminists to HRC should remember how
frequently and for how long she was treated by conservatives as the
symbol of everything threatening to The Old Ways about the women’s

Still, adds Kilgore, such attacks may still not be the smartest strategy for Obama’s opponents.

The effort to make Michelle Obama seem “alien” and “radical”
runs up against the truth in ways that are going to be difficult to
ignore. If anything, Michelle Obama’s persona, history, and “message”
are more reassuringly American than her husband’s. In contrast to his
exotic and complicated background, hers exhibits the contemporary
version of the Horatio Alger myth: a family rooted in South Carolina
and transplanted to the southside of Chicago; a hard-working father
(struggling against a degenerative disease, MS) and stay-at-home
mother; great success in a series of highly competitive and racially
integrated school settings; and the abandonment of a bright career in
corporate law to become a non-profit organizer, an executive for a
non-profit hospital, and most of all, a devoted wife and mother of two

33 Years in Uniform: What Glass Ceiling?
After Lieutenant General Ann Dunwoody received an unprecedented fourth star last week, she issued a statement that said:  “I grew up in a family that didn’t know what glass ceilings were.”  Perhaps that’s because in addition to  her brother, father, grandfather and great-grandfather, all of whom graduated from West Point, her family is full of military women, as Rachel Swarns notes in the Times, Dunwoody’s older sister,  was the
third woman in the Army to be a helicopter pilot, and her niece has flown missions in
Afghanistan as a fighter pilot like Dunwoody.

Today, women make up about 14 percent of the 1.4 million people on
active duty in the military. More than 100 women have died in the
conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan.

But the number of women at the very top, while growing, remains small.
In the Army, where women make up 14 percent of active duty personnel,
they account for about 5 percent of the generals, according to Lt. Col.
Anne Edgecomb, an Army spokeswoman. There are 15 one-star generals,
three two-star generals and two three-star generals, including General

Friends say that General Dunwoody, who specializes in logistics and is
married to Craig Brotchie, a retired Air Force colonel, has chafed over
the years at those who questioned her abilities or marveled at her
accomplishments. “Her issue is, when are people going to stop being surprised?” said
Jeanette Edmunds, 55, a retired major general who has known General
Dunwoody since the two attended officer training in the 1970s.

“You’re not out there thinking, ‘Am I good enough?’ ” General Edmunds
said. “You don’t think, ‘I’m going to be the first this or that.’ You
think, ‘This is cool. People think I’ve done good work.’ ”

Dunwoody may have felt differently about the congratulations offered by first woman in the
Army to reach the rank of three-star general, Lt. Gen. Claudia Kennedy, who told the Times that
she felt giddy when she heard the news.

“I was twirling and throwing my hat in the air,” she said. “It shows
people that the leaders in the Army think it’s important to pick the
best qualified, not just the men.”


Toto, We’re Not in Kentucky Anymore: Actress Ashley Tyler Ciminella, known more often as Ashley Judd, has undergone plenty of changes over the years— from Tennessee to the University of Kentucky to Hollywood, and from TV series like Star Trek: The Next Generation and films like De-Lovely to her current modeling contract for Estee Lauder. But her current trip to the Democratic Republic of the Congo for Women for Women International may be the most stunning yet.

Here is Ashley’s journal of her trip:

I am traveling to the DRC to visit the PSI and Women for Women
International. These PSI clinics specialize in family planning,
maternal and child health, and the treatment and prevention of malaria.
(We also do safe water and HIV prevention in this area of the DRC). I
also hope to visit with women who are rape victims and have graduated
from Women for Women International’s program. Rape is an epidemic here.
It is an emergency. It is everywhere, on a massive scale. It is not
altogether unreported in the western media, but it is grossly
underreported. An ancient and common tool of warfare, this area’s
female population has been hostage to gender based violence for decades.

What a shocking difference a few feet makes. On the Rwandan side of the
crossing, the roads are tidy, neat, maintained. The earth is red and
the wind blowing through the trees, the lapping of the shores of Lake
Kivu, is serene. There is a sense of orderliness and even within the
clear, abject poverty; I feel the purposeful attempt at self
improvement, through agriculture and the tiny, colorful flower gardens.

Passing into the DRC…Oh my God.  After passing a few ramshackle villas at the border, Goma opens up as a
relentless, vast dusty slum. There is rubble, garbage, filth, people
covered in muck and grime, buildings that are nothing more than lean-to
shanties. The earth is grey, drab, choking with dust, visibility
limited by dust – the result of lava flow from a nearby volcano.

After spending a heartbreaking and inspiring day with the staff of PSI,
I traveled to visit the Women for Women International office. In the midst of this ragged and doomed place is a walled courtyard
filled with grass that is actually green, a garden that is actually
tended, a building that is clean and proud. There were enough chairs
for 20 (!) people to sit, and some tidy (if out of place looking, I
always chuckle, wondering where the stuff come from) furniture.

I was greeted with joyous clapping, singing, and ululating, the great
African vocalization. I ran to the throng and threw myself at them,
dancing and exclaiming my hello in their native style. After some time
discovering each other in this way, I was introduced as someone who
sponsors in Women for Women International and who was there to hear
their stories and to take their stories to America.

By Chris Lombardi

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