...the problem with Slaughter’s hypothesis is that this form of “trickle-down feminism,” as coined by Tressie McMillan Cottom, may not in fact trickle down. In her exclusive interview with Fortune announcing the pregnancy, Mayer was already talking tough about working through her maternity leave. “I like to stay in the rhythm of things,” she told Fortune. “My maternity leave will be a few weeks long and I’ll work throughout it.”
That may be easy for her to say, but her behavior will inevitably become the model for what’s considered the norm for all the women working under her. If the boss is only out a few weeks and doesn’t even take real time off of work, why should a lower-down pregnant employee expect that she could take the full twelve (unpaid) weeks allotted to her by the FMLA and not raise a few eyebrows?
The problem is not that Mayer doesn’t care about women’s equality. It’s that because she’s achieved so much, she seems to assume there are boundless opportunities for all women, which they just have to take advantage of like she did. This is crystal clear in a short interview she did with Makers about not being a feminist: [MORE]
Last week, a super PAC called Restore our Future purchased $7.2 million worth of ads to run during this summer’s London Olympics—and we know more are coming. The Games are about national unity and fair competition; special interest negative ads are about division, half-truths, and unfair play. These ads have no place during the Olympics....
The expert who did the research doesn't talk about balls. There doesn't, in fact, seem to be all that much research about intelligence and balls. There doesn't, for example, seem to be much research about how testosterone helps you make your way, in politics, and business, and banks, but how it doesn't always help you do your job well when you're there. There doesn't seem to be much research about the risks it seems to make people take, and how it makes people think they're playing a game when they aren't.
If there was research about testosterone, it might show, as some studies do show, that female traders do better than male ones, and female doctors are safer than male ones, and that you can, as Christine Lagarde, who runs the IMF, and knows quite a lot about being a woman in a man's world, has said, have "too much testosterone in one room." But it might also show that you can have too little. [MORE]
Earlier this week, Attorney General Eric Holder declared in his address to the NAACP national convention in Houston what many voting rights advocates had been saying for months: That the photo voter ID law passed in Texas is a poll tax. Determining whether voter ID laws are as unconstitutional as poll taxes won’t be up to him, though. That honor goes to the U.S. Supreme Court justices who lately have been signaling they may be ready to gut the 1965 Voting Rights Act.
What this means is that a legal challenge to a voter ID law in Texas could be the trigger for the demise of the constitutional act that made it possible for people of color to vote in much of the country. Rightwing pundits have all but conceded this week’s US District Court hearing over Texas’s voter ID law to the Department of Justice. There’s agreement on the left and the right that Texas didn’t do a good enough job proving that the law has no discriminatory purpose nor effect. Experts have testified that almost 1.4 million Texans could be disenfranchised due to lacking ID.
[PLEASE read this rich timeline of the Texan legal struggle to keep persons of color from voting and to redistrict them out of influence. And never forget, voter suppression always effects women a little more, because so many of us change our names, makeing even valid ID invalid in these times. - jkl]
Pro-choice groups file lawsuit to block Arizona’s 20-week abortion ban.
Such bans, which have been adopted in eight other states (Alabama, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Nebraska) since 2010, are based on the scientifically unsound premise that fetuses can feel pain at 20 weeks. CRR calls them “flatly unconstitutional” since Roe v. Wade grants a right to abortion up to viability–at around 24 weeks–and bans after that must allow exceptions to protect the life and health of the mother. Arizona’s law is extra unconstitutional since it’s a couple weeks earlier than the other states.
Just 1.5 percent of abortions are performed after 20 weeks anyway. When they are, it’s usually because women couldn’t access an earlier abortion or they found out about a fetal anomaly or other health complication in the second trimester. So laws like these just have a terribly cruel impact on women who are in awful situations. People like Danielle and Robb who were victims of Nebraska’s 20-week ban.
An unidentified protestor stands outside Beaver Stadium prior to the football game between Nebraska and Penn State last November. (Credit: Reuters/Pat Little)
by ALLEN BARRA, salon.com
If the university wants to move beyond today's report, it must give up the team and mind-set that led to disgrace.
No, it’s clear that the reason everyone from the bottom to the top shut up about the whole thing was that it involved football. When you think of Penn State, you think of football first. It’s the cash cow, the money maker, the heart and soul of social life at the university. Joe Paterno didn’t understand what Mike McQueary told him about what he saw in the showers? Impossible. He understood exactly what was going on, which is precisely why he took the minimal action he was legally required to do and then turned his back.
Everyone involved was more afraid about the damage that would be caused to the football program than the harm – both past and future – to the young victims.
[Football can be a cult that does not care about OTHERS who do are not as important as the TRUE BELIEVERS. Right now there is a powerful political cult out there, making OTHERS out of all of us. If this can happen to innocent children, do not think for a minute it cannot happen to you. - jkl]
A regional head of women's affairs has been killed by a car bomb in eastern Afghanistan.
Hanifa Safi was driving in Mehtar Lam, the capital of Laghman province, when a bomb attached to her car exploded, said the provincial governor's spokesman, Sarhadi Zwak.
"It killed her and left her husband, who was with her in the car, in a coma," Zwak said. Ten others were wounded.
Zwak declined to say whether he believed the Taliban were behind the attack, instead saying "enemies of Afghanistan" had planted the bomb. There was no immediate claim of responsibility.
Safi is the second provincial head of women's affairs to be killed since the posts were created 10 years ago. Safia Ama Jan, who headed the department in southern Kandahar province, was shot dead in 2006 by members of the Taliban.
Delegates at the 2012 National NOW Conference passed 11 resolutions on issues including removing the time limit from the ERA, increasing access to Plan B for Native American women and defeating the war on women in the state legislatures.
Domestic violence rates have skyrocketed in the aftermath of the recession, but governors are cutting funds to support the victims.
Late last week, South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley vetoed eighty-one items in the 2012–13 state budget sent to her by lawmakers. Beyond eliminating the state’s arts commission, she also managed to cut $453,680 in funding for the South Carolina Coalition Against Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault (SCCADVASA). If her veto isn’t overridden, “rape crisis centers will lose 37% of their current state funding, which will drastically reduce their ability to respond to victims and provide prevention education,” SCCADVASA’s Executive Director Pamela Jacobs told the Palmetto Public Record.
South Carolina was already failing women when it comes to preventing violence against them. Its rape rate has exceeded the national rate since 1982. It also holds the extremely dubious honor of being number seven in the country for the number of women murdered by men.
But the situation is even more urgent right now. The recession has led to a drastic and alarming increase in violence against women. As I wrote last year, 80 percent of domestic violence shelters surveyed by Mary Kay reported an increase in domestic violence cases for the third straight year, and three-quarters attributed the violence to the victims’ financial issues. More than half say the abuse is even more violent than it was before the financial crisis. The Police Executive Research Forum also reports that over half of police agencies are seeing an increase in domestic violence calls this year due to the economy. This all lines up with studies showing that domestic violence is three times more likely to occur when a couple experiences financial strain, as so many are right now.
Watching Democrats and Republicans hash out their differences in the public arena, it’s easy to get the impression that there’s a deep disagreement among reasonable people about how to manage the U.S. economy.
Nothing could be further from the truth.
In reality, there’s remarkable consensus among mainstream economists, including those from the left and right, on most major macroeconomic issues. The debate in Washington about economic policy is phony. It’s manufactured. And it’s entirely political.
Let’s start with Obama’s stimulus. The standard Republican talking point is that it failed, meaning it didn’t reduce unemployment. Yet in a survey of leading economists conducted by the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business, 92 percent agreed that the stimulus succeeded in reducing the jobless rate. On the harder question of whether the benefit exceeded the cost, more than half thought it did, one in three was uncertain, and fewer than one in six disagreed.
Or consider the widely despised bank bailouts. Populist politicians on both sides have taken to pounding the table against them (in many cases, only after voting for them). But while the public may not like them, there’s a striking consensus that they helped: The same survey found no economists willing to dispute the idea that the bailouts lowered unemployment.
Do you remember the Republican concern that Obama had somehow caused gas prices to rise, a development that Newt Gingrich promised to reverse? There’s simply no support among economists for this view. They unanimously agreed that “market factors,” rather than energy policy, have driven changes in gas prices.
How about the oft-cited Republican claim that tax cuts will boost the economy so much that they will pay for themselves? It’s an idea born as a sketch on a restaurant napkin by conservative economist Art Laffer. Perhaps when the top tax rate was 91 percent, the idea was plausible. Today, it’s a fantasy. The Booth poll couldn’t find a single economist who believed that cutting taxes today will lead to higher government revenue -- even if we lower only the top tax rate. The consensus isn’t the result of a faux poll of left-wing ideologues. Rather, the findings come from the Economic Experts Panel run by Booth’s Initiative on Global Markets. It’s a recurring survey of about 40 economists from around the U.S. It includes Democrats, Republicans and independent academics from the top economics departments in the country. The only things that unite them are their first-rate credentials and their interest in public policy.
Let’s be clear about what the economists’ remarkable consensus means. They aren’t purporting to know all the right answers. Rather, they agree on the best reading of murky evidence. The folks running the survey understand this uncertainty, and have asked the economists to rate their confidence in their answers on a scale of 1 to 10. Strikingly, the consensus looks even stronger when the responses are weighted according to confidence.
The debate in Washington has become completely unmoored from this consensus, and in a particular direction: Angry Republicans have pushed their representatives to adopt positions that are at odds with the best of modern economic thinking. That may be good politics, but it’s terrible policy.
The disjunction between the state of economic knowledge and our current political debate has important consequences. Right now, millions of people are suffering due to high unemployment. Our textbooks are filled with possible solutions. Instead of debating them seriously, congressional Republicans are blocking even those policy proposals that strike most economists as uncontroversial. [MORE]
In April, the Vatican announced that three American bishops (one archbishop and two bishops) would be sent to oversee the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, a member organization founded in 1956 that represents 80 percent of Catholic sisters in the United States, to get them to conform with the teachings of the Church.
In its assessment of the group, the Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith said the leadership conference is undermining Roman Catholic teachings on homosexuality and birth control and promoting "radical feminist themes incompatible with the Catholic faith." It also reprimanded the nuns for hosting speakers who "often contradict or ignore" church teachings and for making public statements that "disagree with or challenge the bishops, who are the church's authentic teachers of faith and morals." [MORE]
Marissa Mayer in 2008. Yahoo! announced July 16, 2012 it had named her chief executive, making her among the most prominent women in technology and corporate America. (OLIVER LANG - AFP/GETTY IMAGES) Of course, Yahoo knew Mayer was pregnant when they hired her. “They showed their evolved thinking,’’ she told Fortune magazine. Which makes me want to call for the opposite of a boycott.
The decision to hire Mayer — Google’s first female engineer, who reportedly had been running about a quarter of the company — sends a great message to women (and about Yahoo, which could use some good PR.) It may even have a trickle-down effect, at a minimum inside Mayer’s new shop. [MORE]
Thanks to their friends in the Senate, deep-pocketed campaign donors get to keep their masks on... for now.
by BILL MOYERS and MICHAEL WINSHIP
Ask any magician and they’ll tell you that the secret to a successful magic trick is misdirection — distracting the crowd so they don’t realize how they’re being fooled. Get them watching your left hand while your right hand palms the silver dollar: “Now you see it, now you don’t.” The purloined coin now belongs to the magician.
Just like democracy. Once upon a time conservatives supported the full disclosure of campaign contributors. Now they oppose it with their might — and magic, especially when it comes to unlimited cash from corporations. My goodness, they say, with a semantic wave of the wand, what’s the big deal?: nary a single Fortune 500 company had given a dime to the super PACs. (Even that’s not entirely true, by the way.)
Meanwhile the other hand is poking around for loopholes, stuffing millions of secret corporate dollars into non-profit, tax-exempt organizations called 501(c)s that funnel the money into advertising on behalf of candidates or causes. Legally, in part because the Federal Election Commission does not consider them political committees, they can keep it all nice and anonymous, never revealing who’s really behind the donations or the political ads they buy. This is especially handy for corporations — why risk offending customers by revealing your politics or letting them know how much you’re willing to shell out for a permanent piece of an obliging politician?
That’s why passing a piece of legislation called the DISCLOSE Act is so important and that’s why on Monday, Republicans in the Senate killed it. Again. [MORE]
[I am including this in CPF not as a partisan statement, but as a 99% statement: I know people that really think WE THE PEOPLE do not have what it takes to be self directed. I will remember in November. How about you?]
Every Monday evening we open the phone lines to whatever America wants to talk about. Politics, Environment, Culture, Social Issues, Local, National, even International. The direction of the dialogue is up to you! The host and guests take your questions and comments live. Civil Discourse Lives on "Speaking of America" Monday evenings @ 8pm PST / 11pm EST. Let's Talk About It!
Today 7/15 on The Bottom Line: What is bringing our country forward socially and economically? We'll welcome two guests who have some great ideas, and we'd love to hear ideas, questions (and even rants) from you.
THE BOTTOM LINE with Jessica English Sundays from 5 to 6:30 pm ET (2 to 3:30 pm PT) CLICK HERE to listen live or call 646-929-2495 & join the conversation
by Jessica English
We’re going to examine the pitfalls of government of, by, and for the economic elite. Since the dawn of the Industrial Revolution, this has been the most successful method of government, in the United States, and around the world. But is it the only way? And, is it the best way forward TODAY — when centuries-old economic and political theories are being challenged by new innovations of the Age of Network Intelligence.
Our guests will include Chris Franks, founder and CEO of Moblify, and, Tiffany Espinosa, entrepreneur and Ph.D. in the fields of Natural Resource Economics and International Economic Development. [MORE]
In a news conference Thursday, Mr. Freeh condemned the university’s leadership — including Joe Paterno, the school’s legendary head football coach who died in January — for failing to protect the innocent children Mr. Sandusky assaulted. “Our most saddening and sobering finding,” Mr. Freeh said, “is the total disregard for the safety and welfare of Sandusky’s child victims. The most powerful men at Penn State failed to take any steps for 14 years to protect the children who Sandusky victimized.”
In the end, the root of the problem seems to be what the report calls Penn State’s “culture of reverence for the football program that is ingrained at all levels of the campus community.” This culture is ultimately what silenced janitors from reporting what they witnessed and university officials from fulfilling their obvious moral obligation to the children Mr. Sandusky attacked. The Freeh investigation should serve as a red flag for any similar environment in which the powerful are unquestioned and protected, all for the sake of a game.
[If this LOYALTY GONE BAD is possible for just a game, can we really doubt that some look the other way in politics out of loyalty to a party or a candidate whose conduct is out of line, foresaking the victims (the collateral damage), thinking "the game" is the greater good? Wake up, America. This republic's democracy and the welfare of her citizens is in the balance. - jkl]
EMILY’s List, the nation’s largest resource for women in politics, today held a conference call and webinar with EMILY’s List President Stephanie Schriock, WOMEN VOTE! Director Denise Feriozzi, and Democratic pollster Lisa Grove, to release groundbreaking quantitative research on independent women voters in battleground states.
“In these tough economic times, independent women voters want candidates who will focus on putting them back to work, support equal pay, and protect vital programs like Medicare and Social Security,” said Stephanie Schriock, President of EMILY’s List. “The pro-choice, Democratic women whom EMILY’s List supports are exactly the kinds of candidates these voters are looking for -- veterans, police chiefs, mothers, and community leaders who will fight for middle class families instead of creating partisan gridlock.”
Yesterday we launched LPAC, the lesbian political action committee dedicated to giving lesbians a meaningful voice in politics.
The response we've seen has been amazing: Terrific coverage in the AP, Politico, Huffington Post, The Advocate, and more... emails from lesbians in Albuquerque, New Mexico, a string of donations from a group of grassroots women activists in Texas, website sign-ups from women and men from everywhere from Alabama to West Hollywood... support from icon Billie Jean King and actress Jane Lynch... and more supportive Facebook posts and tweets than we can count!