Today’s Lady News: “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” Policy Gets Closer Scrutiny

  • Defense Secretary Robert Gates appeared before the Senate Armed Services Committee today suggesting a plan to roll back the military‘s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy for gay soldiers. Gates has proposed a Pentagon lawyer and a four-star Army general to conduct a year-long study into how the military could lift the ban most easily. However, Sen. John McCain, the top-ranking Republican on the committee, spoke out against lifting “don’t ask don’t tell.” Sen. McCain admitted the policy is not ideal, but said it is still effective. [Newsweek]
  • Megyn Kelly, a 39-year-old lawyer, has been given her own two-hour news program on Fox News. Kelly is also in the running for a prestigious prime-time anchor position when Greta van Susteren’s contract expires this year. [Business Insider]

  • Sixth- and seventh-graders who received abstinence-only sex ed delayed sexual activity by at least two years, compared with ones who received either comprehensive sex ed or abstinence teachings combined with comprehensive sex ed (called “abstinence plus”). The federally funded study of 662 African-American middle schoolers in a Northeastern city is being hailed by abstinence-only education promoters as proof that their program works. The kids in the study who had abstinence-only sex ed were not less likely than other students to use condoms either. [Washington Post]
  • An amendment penned by Sen. Al Franken (D-MN), which would forbid the government for giving contracts to companies that force employees to agree to settle sexual assault claims in arbitration, has made its way into the 2011 defense budget proposal. Sen. Franken’s amendment is considered to be a response to the ordeal of Jamie Leigh Jones and defense contractor KBR. [Huffington Post]
  • Last night on “The Colbert Report,” Harold Ford, Jr., who is challenging Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) for her seat in Congress, referred to Gillibrand as “the young lady” he’s running against. Um, Mr. Ford? Sen. Gillibrand is 43. Would you call a male candidate you were running against “the young man”? [Politico]
  • David Brown, husband of Cosmopolitan‘s most famous editor, Helen Gurley Brown, passed away on Monday. I highly recommend the book Bad Girls Go Everywhere: The Life Of Helen Gurley Brown, by Jennifer Scandlon, for an intimate portrait of the Browns’ marriage and his limitless support of Helen’s career. [The Awl]
  • Some folks are “girl-cotting” American Apparel over the company’s klassy “best bottom in the world” contest for which women snap pics of their bum in AA undies and post them online. [Hardy Girls Healthy Women]

INTERNATIONAL

  • Uma Jham, a 14-year-old girl from Perth, won Australia’s “Brain Bee Challenge,” a contest to find the country’s brainiest student. Uma apparently kicked ass during a “brain-teasing anatomy exam, doctor-patient diagnosis and a neuroscience quiz.” [news.com.au]
  • A 12-year-old child bride in Saudi Arabia has dropped a divorce request from her 80-year-old husband at the request of her father. “I agree to the marriage. I have no objection. This is in filial respect to my father and obedience to his wish,” the girl told a local newspaper. [BBC]
  • France has denied French citizenship to a Moroccan husband who forced his wife to wear a full body-covering veil. [London Guardian]
  • Jean-Claude Rochefort, 60, who was arrested in December for making death threats against women on his blog, will find out Thursday if he can be released from prison. Rochefort claimed he meant to be “humorous” when he made references to Marc Lepine, a gunman who killed 14 women at a Montreal college in 1989. [Canadian Broadcasting Center]
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