Politics in Photography

Polipics: Mainly Snowe




Olympian Vote—for Healthcare
Debbi K. Swanson Patrick

Three weeks ago Obama is hosting a controversial slate of leaders in New York at the UN, loses a bid for the Olympics, then he’s receiving the Nobel Peace Prize, and now, an $829 billion healthcare bill is on its way to the senate. Been a heck of a few weeks.

One vote stood out in the healthcare bill passage, that of Republican Maine Senator Olympia Snowe. The more I learn about this woman, the more impressed I am. Yet what does the Huffington Post have to say about it? Well immediately below their headline about this momentous occasion, they pondered what she would WEAR for the occasion. Really?

Then I realized that this attention is an honor to a woman who has endured, overcome, and achieved much. This attention to wardrobe is a far cry than that paid to that Alaskan “rogue” who had to have the Republicans buy her a decent set of clothes. This attention is more in line with commentary on other women of note, Jackie Kennedy and Michele Obama. The comments about Ms. Snowe reflect her demeanor, her class, her composure, her fierce dedication to her work—and a collection of impressive suits that “suit” her hard-won status.

She has overcome the childhood loss of her parents and her first husband, and separation from one brother, to be the only woman selected in 2006 by Time as one of “America’s 10 Best Senators. She’s been praised for her sensitivity to her constituents and Time noted: “Because of her centrist views and eagerness to get beyond partisan point scoring, Maine Republican Olympia Snowe is in the center of every policy debate in Washington.”

And, according to Wikipedia, Snowe did not miss any of the 657 votes on the Senate floor during the 110th Congress from 2007 to 2009, one of only eight senators to do so. Govtrack.us reports she’s only missed 34 of 7701 votes since 1990. She is the fourth woman to serve on the Senate Armed Services Committee and the first to chair its seapower subcommittee, which oversees the Navy and Marine Corps. In 2001, Snowe became the first Republican woman to secure a full-term seat on the Senate Finance Committee.
Snowe was the youngest Republican woman ever elected to the United States House of Representatives; she is also the first woman to have served in both houses of a state legislature and both houses of the U.S. Congress. Additionally, she is the first Greek-American congresswoman. With her 1989 marriage to McKernan, she became the first person to simultaneously be a member of Congress and First Lady of a state. She has a strong face, serious and also joyful. She has never lost an election in 35 years.

As for the vote, no, it would’ve passed without her support. Her vote is a moral one, consistent with past votes that broke the Republican line.

This from the New York Times: “Is this bill all that I would want?” Ms. Snowe said. “Far from it. Is it all that it can be? No. But when history calls, history calls. And I happen to think that the consequences of inaction dictate the urgency of Congress to take every opportunity to demonstrate its capacity to solve the monumental issues of our time.”

Ms. Snowe’s remarks silenced the packed committee room, riveted colleagues and thrilled the White House. President Obama had sought her vote, hoping that she would break with Republican leaders and provide at least a veneer of bipartisanship to the bill, which he has declared his top domestic priority.

Mr. Obama, speaking in the Rose Garden, described the committee’s action as “a critical milestone” and declared, “We are now closer than ever before to passing health reform.” But he added: “Now is not the time to pat ourselves on the back. Now is not the time to offer ourselves congratulations. Now is the time to dig in and work even harder to get this done.”
With its vote Tuesday, the Finance Committee became the fifth — and final — Congressional panel to approve a sweeping health care bill. The action will now move to the floors of the House and the Senate, where the health care measures still face significant hurdles.


Polipics: Olym-pics–Poor Chicago

Chicago's Imagination Didn't Engage
Chicago’s Imagination Didn’t Engage


Debbi K. Swanson Patrick

Well, Chicago didn’t make it. 

I’m not saying I know everything, but when they recapped the cities in the running for the 2016 Olympics, Rio de Janero was the one that captured my attention. It’s exotic. It’s romantic. The Olympics have never been held in South America. And Rio has that incredible statue of Christ the Redeemer on the mount with open arms overlooking the ocean. Then there are the beaches of Ipanema and the Copacabana, plus the sheer gorgeous landscape. Oh yeah. Some friends are celebrating their birthdays there next year and I’m contemplating joining them.


Chicago may have Oprah and once had Obama, who both made appearances at the IOC to sell the Second City. But the violence in this city, especially the recent beating of a 16-year-old, and the city’s lack of romantic image—save jazz and killer food—may have overridden the star power pleas. The photo above is gorgeous, but apparently it was speaking to the choir who already love Chicago.


I’m happy to see the Olympics are spreading out. It’s supposed to be a worldwide event and yet the games have never been played in South America? There are many countries the Olympics haven’t yet graced. Here’s a list of where the Summer Games have played. If you have pictures from any Olympics games, or some great shots of Chicago or Brazil, post them on our flickr site www.flicker/com/groups/digiphotomag 


In the meantime, brush up your Portuguese. You’ve got the Vancouver Winter Games, the London Summer Games, and another Winter Games in Sochi, Russia, before Brazil. Are you going to any of them?

1896 – Athens, Greece

1900 – Paris, France

1904 – St. Louis, Missouri USA

1906 – Athens, Greece*

1908 – London, England

1912 – Stockholm, Sweden

1916 – Not held**

1920 – Antwerp, Belgium

1924 – Paris, France

1928 – Amsterdam, Holland

1932 – Los Angeles, California USA

1936 – Berlin, Germany

1940 – Not held***

1944 – Not held***

1948 – London, England

1952 – Helsinki, Finland

1956 – Melbourne, Australia

1960 – Rome, Italy

1964 – Tokyo, Japan

1968 – Mexico City, Mexico

1972 – Munich, Germany

1976 – Montreal, Canada

1980 – Moscow, Russia

1984 – Los Angeles, California USA

1988 – Seoul, South Korea

1992 – Barcelona, Spain

1996 – Atlanta, Georgia USA

2000 – Sydney, Australia

2004 – Athens, Greece

2008 – Beijing, China

2012 – London, England

2016 – Rio de Janero

*Games not recognized by the International Olympic Committee.

**Games cancelled due to World War I.

***Games cancelled due to World War II.


Polipics: Farewell Uncle Teddy


photo via Getty Images

I can’t help but be extremely sad over the loss of Ted Kennedy. I’m going to Boston in three weeks and he won’t be there. My whole life he’s been there, and now he isn’t. His spirit is, of course, in all the work that he’s done in 47 years in the Senate.

For me his loss is bringing up many of my childhood memories:  His brother JFK when I was in Mrs. Silvera’s class in Lockhurst Drive Elementary. His brother Bobby when I was in Hale Junior High. Martin Luther King at the same time. My father when I was 17. It feels like we’ve lost America’s uncle, not just the family’s. We’ve lost the man who has fought for the rights of labor, the disenfranchised, and those who have been discriminated against.

Yes, he was wise to bestow his blessings and grace upon our current president, to be sure his legacy is honored in the healthcare work that is being done today, for tomorrow. Socialist? Hardly. Giving all Americans the right to decent healthcare? Providing an expectation of a decent quality of life? Priceless. Yet everybody wants to hang the pricetag out for battering and bruising. How do you put a pricetag on humanity?

What are you thoughts on the world without Ted Kennedy?


Polipics: Targeting Protestors


photo via Andrew Sullivan/The Daily Dish (The Atlantic)

So much is going on right now. Iranian brutality. Elections in Afghanistan. Scotland releasing the only convicted Lockerbie bomber. The controversy over whether Michelle Obama should wear shorts in 106-degree heat while on vacation at the Grand Canyon. The mind spins.

Let’s focus on Iran. Great to get the tip on this disturbing use of photographs for political gain. Thanks to L.A. photographer Keith Skelton for this item from Michael David Murphy who is blogging about Andrew Sullivan’s “Daily Dish”:

“Sullivan has done substantial work covering the protests against the election in Iran. His post “Counter-Targeting the Protestors” led to a site controlled by the Iranian government, where the regime was posting candid photographs of Mousavi supporters demonstrating in the streets, and using the site as a plea to the public to help with identifications.”

They’re available here as a zip file: Wanted.zip, or in this set Wanted in Iran on Flickr.

And speaking of photojournalists, I visited the Annenberg Space for Photography Saturday and learned that AP photographer Emilio Morenatti lost a foot on August 11, to a roadside bomb in Afghanistan. Videographer Andi Jatmiko, was also injured. Journalists are in danger all over the world, but they go and do and see and capture for us the horrors and magical moments they see every day—and pay a price for it.

You can see much of Morenatti’s artful work on the Denver Post site. And, of course, get to the Annenberg to see the current exhibit of the Photos of the Year International (POYi) voted on by the Missouri School of Journalism. The website has about 77 of the exhibit’s photos on view. About 45,000 pictures were submitted this year.



Polipics: Which Story is the Story?


photo by ROBERTO SCHMIDT/AFP/Getty Images

Now here is the story the media should have been covering. Yes, great TV when Hillary got perturbed over misunderstanding an African’s question and thinking she was being dissed in favor of hubby Bill. That in itself is a whole discussion about whether women get the respect they deserve in politics. The real story is what’s happening to the women in the Congo. Nearly 3,500 have been raped since January in the war-torn east of DR Congo.

Here’s the official caption for this photo: A 30-year old woman lays on a bed on August 10, 2009, as she waits to go into surgery that will help her with physical problems developed after she was raped by three men belonging to an armed group almost four years ago. Doctors at the Heal Africa Clinic in Goma treat women who have been sexually abused and in the majority of the cases, due to the violent and vicious nature of the attacks develop serious physical problems. This woman is in for her ninth intervention and has lived in a transit home inside the clinic for four years. Hundreds of thousands of women have become victims of brutal rape usually perpetrated by groups of armed men who have engaged in armed conflict in the region for almost a decade and who use rape as a weapon of war.

Yes, that’s a story, old as time, and still needs to be told.

Also going on this week were the crazy healthcare protests and the confirmation of Sonia Sotomayor as a Supreme Court Justice. Did you have any political protests going on in your backyard? Are you out looking for controversies to cover? Let us know!

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