Thursday, October 2, 2008

Obama sought surviror for commercial

by Jonathan Martin

Barack Obama's campaign earlier this month sought to find a rape victim to appear in a campaign commercial, according to an e-mail obtained by Politico.

Kiersten Stewart, director of public policy at the Family Violence Prevention Fund, served as a conduit between the campaign and victims and women's advocates.

"Obviously, this is a big ask and I haven’t seen a script but presumably it will be a brief 'this is what happened to me, we need someone who will fight for women like me, these are the guys to do it,'" Stewart wrote in a Sept. 15 e-mail. "Again, that’s just my assumption, given how these things usually go."

Stewart, a former top aide to Rep. Maurice Hinchey (D-N.Y.), said the Obama campaign would have a crew in Washington and was hoping to film that week.

She didn't respond to a message.

The Obama campaign wouldn't detail the strategy behind finding an individual to discuss such a sensitive topic but did suggest the ad may be aimed at underscoring their candidate's support for abortion rights and ongoing effort to retain those women who backed Hillary Clinton in the primary.

"Choice is an important issue, and we're going to continue talking about it in battleground states through the election," said spokesman Bill Burton.

Virginia is one of those swing states that Obama is especially focused on, and that's where one rape victim received the request to appear in an ad.

Mikele Shelton-Knight declined to do so, but said in an interview that she was glad the Obama campaign was seeking to highlight the issue.

"The more discussion about this the better," said Shelton-Knight, a full-time victims advocate in the Richmond area.

And though she never was told about the nature of the commercial, Shelton-Knight said she thought that the focus of the ad may be about the practice in Wasilla, Alaska, to charge rape victims to pay for their own exams.

The law was on the books when Sarah Palin became mayor of the small city, and it's unclear whether she supported it or opposed it during her tenure.

But Shelton-Knight said Palin should not be criticized for having governed a city with such a law as they were quite common until recent years.

Alaska didn't pass a bill until 2000 requiring state and local law endorcement to pay for the exams. And Shelton-Knight said it wasn't until lobbying by her and others that Virginia last year put the financial burden on localities. Many states still charge victims for the cost of the exam.

Green Sex Toys: Advice from The Mirror's Sasha

What toys are the best for our bodies and the Earth?

Anything created from natural materials like glass, wood or stainless steel is a great option, and these toys are often so visually pleasing that you’ll be tempted to display them as conversation pieces. Look for products from Standard Glass or njoy. For vibrators, companies like Lelo and Fun Factory offer rechargeable options, meaning you’ll have no batteries to dispose of. Both these companies use medical-grade silicone.

When looking for silicone, make sure you choose companies like the ones mentioned above along with Vixen, Tantus and Happy Valley, all of them committed to using the best possible materials. Happy Valley enjoys the added bonus of being an Ontario-based company, meaning your toy doesn’t have to travel as far to get to you.

Tantus, a company with a particularly green focus (they even promote the use of non-toxic cleaning products in their manufacturing process) is getting set to launch a new line called Alumina. Aluminum is the most plentiful metal in the Earth’s crust, it’s recyclable, and Tantus uses a grade employed in medical devices, also coating the toys in a medical-grade finish. The Alumina line is compatible with all lubes—speaking of which, for the most natural options, look for lubricants that are paraben-free and/or use organic ingredients, such as Hathor or Good Clean Love.

And for all those among my readers who’ve been hankering for a gigantic item to stick in your ass or vagina but have been disappointed with the smelly, porous materials presented in many current mainstream options, have a look at Tantus’s new silicone Cowboy line. I received two samples in the mail last week—one was significantly larger than my forearm, and the other the size of a bottle of Bullseye BBQ sauce—which I then spent a couple of valiant but unsuccessful hours trying to get cordial with. I am personally in awe of anyone who craves and receives such girth. “They play amazing,” enthuses Michael Smith, Tantus’s CEO (Metis Black, the owner of Tantus, directed me to Smith for an interview, cheerfully describing him as the company’s size queen, a fact that is usually only revealed about a company’s highest-ranking corporate officer by the tabloid media). Smith suggests using a thick water-based lube with them.