November, 2008

Big Victory and Small Victories Big Victory: Election Reflection


Our troubled country is back on the right track with the defining election of our next president, Barack Obama. We, along, with the rest of the country and world can breathe a mountain-sized sigh of relief! After ignoring the warnings of 9/11, after the false evidence leading to the Iraq war, after Katrina, and after the near catastrophic economic collapse, the Republican Party did not deserve to win and voters in record numbers made sure they did not. To many people, President-Elect Barack Obama may be a crapshoot, but surely no more so than several of our past presidents. To Obama’s credit, he ran an almost flawless campaign, and he seems to inspire and lift up virtually everyone, across financial, class, racial and gender divides – as well as party lines. He appears to possess all the essential ingredients of a strong, powerful national and world leader: calm and steady, passionate and measured, curious and intelligent, compassionate and decisive. What does his election mean to women?


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Publisher Sue Gillis
The Ballad of Diana v. Goliath


Eight years ago, my good friend Diana Winn Levine, a musician from Marshfield, Vermont lost her right hand to an amputation because of a medical foul-up. If international drug corporations get their way in the U.S. Supreme Court case Wyeth v. Levine this month, you may find yourself more severed from justice than she.

Diana had long suffered from migraines, but under the care of her local doctor managed her pain throughout a busy musical life, motherhood, and even the untimely death of her musician husband. Seeking relief from a headache one April night in 2000, she went to a local clinic and was given drugs she had been treated with previously without problem: Demerol for the pain and Wyeth’s drug Phenergan for nausea.

Over the next seven weeks her injected arm swelled to twice its size. Her hand and forearm began to throb and turn purple, then black. Her doctor at first gave her morphine, then checked her into the Central Vermont Hospital; from there she was taken to Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center, where the unimaginable was pronounced. Her right hand was literally dying.


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Musician Diana Levine

Writing the Next Chapter – People & Issues Revisited


In its own recent anniversary issue, Vanity Fair stated the following: “Monthly-magazine journalism is arguably the golden mean for those who want to keep up and also to take a step back.” That encapsulates the philosophy guiding my editorial vision: current news about the issues facing Vermont women, presented with rich context in a thoughtful, intelligent and reflective manner – dead serious when necessary, balanced by playful spirit – and always with the objective of making our world a better place.

I applaud the excellent work of all our dedicated writers and columnists. I’d like to gratefully acknowledge the feature writing contributed by a number of writers who have been a part of this effort virtually from the beginning of my tenure as editor: Rickey Gard Diamond, Mary Fratini, Trina Hikel, Cindy Hill, and Amy Lilly.

For this, our fifth anniversary, we revisited a number of the people and issues we covered early on, and present the following updates below on what has transpired over the course of the last five years (Bantu women and Vermont Refugee Resettlement Program; Women deployed in VT National Guard; Incarcerated women in VT; Dr. David Krag’s cancer research efforts; Breast cancer – go green, not pink; Grace Paley in memoriam).


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Feb. 2004 Cover