There's a front pager in today's NYT about the bravery of young Afghan women who return to school even after being doused in acid by depraved, misogynistic, fundamentalist thugs. One 17-year-old, Shamsia Husseini, tells the Times:

My parents told me to keep coming to school even if I am killed....The people who did this to me don't want women to be educated. They want us to be stupid things.

What a harsh truth for a girl to learn at such a young age. Not to state the obvious, but ugly, backward, pathetic little men making themselves feel not just important, but self-righteous by brutally oppressing an entire gender in the name of god is one of the darker, most disgusting traditions in certain pockets of the globe.

This is why the photo of Hillary Clinton at her Senate confirmation hearing yesterday, which ran right next to this depressing article, made me smile. Both the history and the temperament of the incoming Secretary of State suggest that she will prove a strong champion of women in such straits. To be sure, Hil will have a lot on her plate. But she has always taken pains to remind us (not to mention an annoyed Chinese government) that women's rights are human rights. 

--Michelle Cottle