A Special Place In Hell

NOW is Now Irrelevent

January 20, 2009
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I was just poking around the National Organization of Women website. There is a lot of talk about Hope floating around there lately, and a lot of puffery about how NOW has been “organizing and participating in various meetings with Obama-Biden transition staff.” They mention all kinds of requests they’ve made of the President elect, like putting more women on the cabinet (denied, by the way), including more jobs for women in the stimulus package (also denied, by the way.) What’s not detailed on the website is a single success that NOW has had in influencing the transition team. Nada. Zip. Nothing. The one thing that I’ve noticed that has come out of all that “participating” was in an interview last week about the stimulus package where an Obama spokesman expressed regret over the fact that most of the jobs created would be in areas traditionally dominated by men. Oh well, at least they’re sorry. Good on ya NOW!


Kim Gandy Lies to Protect Larry Summers?

January 20, 2009
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Summers Remarks on Women Draw Fire

By Marcella Bombardieri, Globe Staff / January 17, 2005

CAMBRIDGE — The president of Harvard University, Lawrence H. Summers, sparked an uproar at an academic conference Friday when he said that innate differences between men and women might be one reason fewer women succeed in science and math careers. Summers also questioned how much of a role discrimination plays in the dearth of female professors in science and engineering at elite universities.

Nancy Hopkins, a biologist at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, walked out on Summers’ talk, saying later that if she hadn’t left, ”I would’ve either blacked out or thrown up.” Five other participants reached by the Globe, including Denice D. Denton, chancellor designate of the University of California, Santa Cruz, also said they were deeply offended, while four other attendees said they were not.

– Excerpt Boston Globe, January 17, 2005

I encourage you to go and read the entire news article. It does seem Summers believes that innate gender differences explain the disproportionately low number of successful women in math and science, and that he doesn’t believe discrimination is in any way to blame for the paucity of tenured women in those academic fields. Please see this article as well, about the number of tenured positions offered to women at Harvard during Summers time there. The article outlines how the number of offers of tenure to women increased during Summers’ last year at Harvard, but that was after the uproar over his remarks. Interestingly, the year Summers took over, offers to women declined 10%, and then went on to decline a further 13% over the next two years, bottoming out at a miserable 13% of the total with only 4 positions being offered to women in ’03 – ’04.

“Yet Kim Gandy, president of the National Organization for Women, said her group’s research actually produced material that recommended him. “One good thing about Larry Summers,” she said, “is that he has written and spoken fairly extensively on the issue of women’s wage inequality and the impact that has on the country.””

– Excerpt November 24, 2008 International Herald Tribune

Quite a change of tune for NOW! Just 3 years ago they demanded Summers’ resignation in no uncertain terms. According to Gandy, in the interim Summers has become a champion of women’s wage equality. Problem is, there is no evidence that I can find to support Gandy’s statement. Recently, Summers has cast himself as a “New Deal” proponent concerned about the wealth gap between rich and poor, not the income disparity between men and women. I think Gandy’s “researchers” must have gotten their information from Summers’ PR group.

Oddly enough, 2005 wasn’t the first time Larry stuck his foot in his mouth. Here’s the “toxic memo” Summers wrote while he was Chief Economist at the World Bank that purportedly argues for more pollution in developing countries. I think Obama sees a kindred spirit.

H/T to the Reclusive Leftist, who found the Gandy quote about Summers.

A New Declaration of Independence?

January 19, 2009
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Barack Obama says we need a new Declaration of Independence:

“What’s required is a new Declaration of Independence, not just in our nation but in our own lives, in our own hearts, from ideology and small thinking, from prejudice and bigotry, from selfishness and narrow interest; an appeal not just to our easy instincts but to our better angels. That’s the reason I launched my campaign for the Presidency nearly two years ago.”

Barack Obama, Baltimore, January 17th, 2009

Here’s a snippet of the old one, for comparison’s sake.

“When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed.”

The Declaration of Independence, July 4th, 1776

I think it’s pretty good, although maybe they could have added women in there somewhere just to be fair. Maybe that’s what Obama means. A new one that proclaims women have the same rights to all those goodies would be cool. I don’t think that’s what he means though. It certainly takes a boatload of audacity to make such an outrageous statement, especially after the insincere jingoism that preceded it. Although, come to think of it, it takes a tremendous amount  of temerity to seize for oneself the mantle of Abraham Lincoln before you have even a single accomplishment to your name, well, besides being elected. One word that will never be used to describe Barack Obama is “humble.”

At heart, Obama’s statement is insulting to Americans, and not just those who admire the old Declaration of Independence. It implies that we are ideologues, we are small minded, we are prejudiced, we are bigots, we are selfish, but not to worry, he has seen the error of our ways and that’s why he ran for President. Henceforth, if any of us, for any reason disagree with his plans, we ought to know what we are, right? Those of us who followed the primaries closely remember this tactic. Anyone who questioned the One was either a racist, a Republican, or both. Now anyone who questions our new President’s agenda is a prejudiced, bigoted, small minded, selfish ideologue.

Not that anyone can discern what that agenda will be. Obama’s had more flip flops than David Hasselhoff. I would bet that it’s not what most Democrats or Republicans are expecting though, given the early ramp up of Obama for America 2.0, and the appointment of so many new policy “czars”, some of them with socialist ties. Obama seems to feel a lot of help will be needed to “thrust his agenda through the federal agencies and Congress.” All this force is being mustered for a reason. Obama must realize his agenda will not be very palatable to many Americans. I guess we’ll see. In the meantime, I’ll keep on clinging to the old Declaration, although I may pencil in “and women,” or change men to read “people” instead.

What Does Obama Have to Say About Female Genital Mutilation in Kenya?

January 19, 2009
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Nothing, as far as I can tell.

In case you aren’t familar with female genital mutilation, it is a barbarous practice sometimes called “female circumcision” whereby parts of young girls’ genitalia are removed. It is unnecessary, cruel, and often performed under unsanitary conditions leading to all kinds of horrid complications. It is widely practiced in Kenya.

You’d think a father of two girls would have something to say about it, especially as he is an enormously popular and influential figure in Kenya. Just a simple statement would almost certainly be enough to save at least a few children from this dreadful form of child abuse.

Just for the heck of it, here’s what Hillary has to say about it.

Posted in Feminism, Sexism

CNN asks the wrong questions, as usual

January 17, 2009
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“Can a man be a feminist?” Well, duh. The real question is “what is the evidence that this man is a feminist.” CNN is just sad. This piece is pathetically shallow and obvious. It takes for granted that Ms. magazine’s claim on behalf of Obama is justified, and then fails to challenge Ms.’ Executive Editor Katherine Spillar’s claim that the controversy was simply due to having a man on the cover. None of the featured comments from the Daily Beast mention the many valid reasons to object to the cover, like Obama’s willingness to reach out to neanderthals like Warren and Summers or his paltry 25% female cabinet representation. To cap it all off they allow Naomi Wolf to smear The New Agenda as a front for right wing political operatives, or some such paranoid bullshit.

Can we please have some rational people representing feminists instead of someone delusional enough to produce this tripe.

By the way, here is the full version of one of the comments shown in the video:

“Obama won because he was not a woman. Hillary lost because she was. So why does Ms. have to rub it in our faces? Is the new Cabinet reflective of the 52% gender majority in this country? Are women getting equitable treatment in the workplace and at home? The day that happens, I will call Obama a supporter of feminism.”

Notice the really relevent bits are conveniently left out. No bull, no bias, huh CNN?

It’s a bird, it’s a plane… no wait, it’s just another politician

January 16, 2009
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On it’s special edition inaugural cover bastion of old school feminism Ms. magazine proudly proclaims that SuperO is here to save us womenfolk. Somehow I just don’t buy it. In the first place, whatever wave of feminism we’re on now, I’m pretty sure most feminists would object to the inherent suggestion that women need a male superhero to save them. That aside, let’s examine SuperO’s feminist credentials, shall we? This is the guy who dismissed a female reporter’s question with “Hold on one second, sweetie” when she asked him about the future of American autoworkers in Michigan. The is the guy who still employs gropin’ Jon Favreau as his speechwriter. The guy who chose Larry “them wimmens is just born stupid” Summers as his top economic advisor. The guy who chose to have Rick “a good beatin’s no excuse for divorce” Warren to officiate at his inauguration. The guy who chose to fill just 25% of cabinet positions with women, who make up 51% of the population by the way, and yet according to the Minerva’s at Ms. this is the guy who is going to save us.

Never mind that SuperO has never, ever paid more than minimal lip service to women issues. Never mind that his campaign website did not even have a women’s issues section until the last few months of the campaign. Never mind that he has waffled on choice, the only thing that seems to matter to the self-annointed “feminist leaders” of today. Never mind that his new head of the DNC  has a “faith based opposition to abortion” and pushes abstinence education. All of this has ceased to matter now, because Ms. has proclaimed SuperO to be a feminist. All is forgiven.

I guess Ms. has forgotten that SuperO remains stubbornly silent about the mountains of sexist insults heaped on rival Hillary Clinton and then later on Sarah Palin by his own followers. I guess Ms. has also forgotten the times he appeared just a teeny bit hostile and sexist himself, equating our soon to be Secretary of State’s foreign affairs experience with having tea on the lawn, describing how “the claws come out” and how  “periodically” when she’s “feeling down,”  she “launches attacks.” No, if they ever were paying attention, all is forgotten and according to Ms., their justification for putting him on the cover was that he admitted privately to one of their editors that he was actually a “feminist.” Whoa, what a groundbreaker! Stop the presses!

Of course, it has not escaped the notice of real life, in the trenches, feminists that SuperO will likely get to sign the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act into law as one of his first acts of office. No doubt his pen strokes will be lauded as SuperO’s first victory for women, when of course he had nothing whatever to do with it beyond affixing his name. The one silver lining is that hopefully the act he signs into law will force him to pay his future female campaign staffers more than the 83 cents on the dollar he paid them during his recent campaign, if he hires any women at all that is. So Ms. all I have to say to you is if that’s what you think a feminist looks like, you obviously haven’t seen any real feminists for a long, long time.