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Saturday: We’re in the basement

The B-52’s Legal Tender:
We’re in the basement, learning to print
All of it’s hot!
10-20-30 million ready to be spent
We’re stackin’ ’em against the wall
Those gangster presidents
Livin’ simple and trying to get by
But honey, prices have
shot through the sky
So I fixed up the basement with
What I was a-workin’ with
Stocked it full of jelly jars
And heavy equipment
We’re in the basement…
10-20-30 million dollars
Ready to be spent

Walk into the bank, try to pass that trash
Teller sees and says
“Uh-huh-that’s fresh as
See the street pass under your feet
In time to buy the latest
model get-away Jeep

So I fixed up the basement with
What I was a-workin’ with
Stocked it full of jelly jars
And heavy equipment
We’re in the basement,
Learning to print
All of it’s hot
All counterfeit

I’m in the basement today trying to finish this sucker before the Superbowl tomorrow and Brook’s Birthday on Monday.  There’s a brandy new TV to pick up.  The old TV works just fine but I’m frequently forced to watch Josh and Drake for hours on end and I can’t take it anymore.  Brook now has an art studio and there are 3 packs of boxes in the car from Ikea with nifty cubbies for all her stuff that I can now get out of the living room.  But before that all goes in, there is flooring to put down and trim to paint.  I don’t know if I can face another brush and can of paint but I must have courage.

In the meantime, I’m still thinking about the impact of the Lilly Ledbetter act, that will allow women to sue for wage discrimination.  In order to make use of this law, you have to be able to prove that there has been wage discrimination in the first place.  But the disclosure provision wasn’t included in the Ledbetter Act.  It is included in the Paycheck Fairness Act, which took a dive.  SO, let’s recap:  You can sue provided you know you’ve been screwed.  But your employer has no obligation to let you see whether you’ve been screwed.  I guess you’ll just have to put on your sleuth hats and investigate whether your colleagues are living well or not.  For example, does your male colleague at your level have a stay at home wife when you can’t afford one?  (we *all* need a wife)  Is he taking vacations when you  take staycations?  How many new cars does he have?  Are you living in a townhouse while he lives in a single family dwelling?  Listen to him at lunch.  Does he complain about having to mow his big yard on the weekend?

Meanwhile, Alegre had an interesting statistic the other day.  For women such as myself who graduated from college in the mid 80’s, it is estimated that we lag our male colleagues by a cumulative amount of of ~$440,000.  I suspect this is the real reason the Paycheck Fairness Act didn’t get passed.  It was probably one of those “Oh, S%^&!” moments for American employers.  They’d be in a heap of trouble if they suddenly had to start paying that money.  But then again, paying women less and reducing pay disparity overtime by keeping men’s wage increases small has been a real hallmark of movement conservatism’s free capitalism.  Wages have been sort of stagnant since the mid-seventies when women started to enter the workforce in large numbers.  As this post points out (h/t lambert), the whole conservative argument boils down to one thing: keeping wages as low as possible.  Every conservative argument can be reduced to that goal like physics can be reduced to F=ma.

Heidi Li writes that it is time for a new emancipation movement focused on women.  After all, traditionally, by the time women get equality in any area, everyone else will have already preceded us.  So, why not just cut to the chase and emancipate women first and the rest will fall into line?  It’s stupid and frustrating that we even have to do this in the 21st century.  But the forces of feudalism never die seemingly.  It’s going to be another protracted struggle against greed and tyranny but getting women on an equal footing is going to have short and long term benefits for everyone.  And let’s face it: right now, “we’re in the basement”.

40 Responses

  1. anythread that kicks off with the b-52s has to be a good thread!

  2. dakini: I tried to find the original B52’s video but it’s not on Youtube. You know the one where they are dancing around in their beehive do’s and money is falling all around them? It used to be one of my favorites.

  3. In order to make use of this law, you have to be able to prove that there has been wage discrimination in the first place. But the disclosure provision wasn’t included in the Ledbetter Act. It is included in the Paycheck Fairness Act, which took a dive.

    Yep – that’s basically it.

    It will be much harder to prove wage discrimination without the Paycheck Fairness Act. The 180 day extension (Ledbetter) is moot.

    So you have more time to prove the case, whoop-di-doo!

    Wage disclosure can get you fired in some companies. Let’s say you have a case against a company and you’re asking your coworkers for their salaries. Just by you trying to gather evidence (i.e. wage disclosure), that can get you and your coworkers canned.

    PayCheck Fairness Act protects women from getting fired while they are gathering evidence, and without it, Ledbetter still keeps women vulnerable.

  4. and RD: that description of what men can afford that work in the same field as me and started out as the same time as me and what I have is so right on … especially since i got married and had kids, I wouldn’t trade my daughters for the word (they’re the best thing I ever did) but i didn’t ever think I’d get caught in a hole that’s hard to climb out of simply by getting married and having kids and being the female in that equation … drives me nuts when I see my exhusbands new wife (who does not have a college education and works as a black jack dealer) get all the benefits of the 20 years and the sacrifices I made … and here I sit in my small little house with my old mustang watching all of that … to think LL would correct that is just smoking something other than reality

  5. So why did the Paycheck fairness act take a dive?


    An interview from Newsweek with Will Bower


  6. Sorry, wrong link with Will Bower interview

    Correct link –

  7. I love the B-52’s!!

    RD, how exciting that your basement is almost finished. I hope we are going to see pictures at some point?

  8. Downticket: I’m sorry but Will Bower doesn’t represent PUMAs although he has been out there promoting himself as such. We had to draw the line with Will and Diane Mantouvalos of Just Say No Deal when they became an extension of the McCain campaign. They were hard working people and we appreciate that but I really wish they would get a new name.

  9. BB: Yep, I print some pics. The construction and painting are finished. Now it’s just a matter of making it comfy.

  10. I think it’s pretty sad when Iraq mandates that 25% of their elected officials must be women while the US still hovers around 16%. I’m glad for them and that their elections seem to have gone without much violence. . . still how long is it going to take for the US to reach that level at the rate we are going??

  11. riverdaughter, on January 31st, 2009 at 11:54 am

    What happened and how did I miss all this? He says he is working on primary reform. Diane was of Just Say No Deal, while Will was with the Pumas.

  12. sm77, it only remains to add to your excellent explanation of Ledbetter and its consequences that Ledbetter was not specifically addressed to *women* being paid unfairly. Rather, as part of the Civil Rights Act, any of the protected categories can file under Ledbetter. Paycheck Fairness, on the other hand, was specifically addressed to issues of unfair pay for women, and women only.

  13. RD,

    I’m so happy for you that you’ll get to watch the Superbowl in your newly refinished basement. You worked really hard. I can barely believe you were able to finish it so fast. Happy Birthday to Brooke, too.

    And I don’t really believe that Obama is a Steelers fan. The Steelers are too much of a working class team for him.

  14. grayslady: (blushing)

    Thank you – I’m just a lay person trying to figure it out still, but yeah, that was what I got out of it.

    Ledbetter has zero protection for the claimant filing the discrimination suit. While the suit is active, the employer still can fire, discredit, shame the employee, even deny them unemployment insurance because they broke the “company rule” that wages shouldn’t be disclosed.

  15. RD: Happy birthday to Brooke as well!

  16. Will Bower doesn’t represent PUMAs

    Did he ever?

  17. Downticket: I was there for the beginning. Diane and Will appointed themselves spokespersons for PUMA through Just Say No Deal. Will claims his facebook page to be the original PUMA entity based on some spurious comment from a different blogger. But the first time I saw Will on TV was a little more than a week after we declared a PUMA UnParty right here on this site. At the time, I googled Will and PUMA and found no other reference that predated SM77’s comment or my post that came right after it.
    We were essentially ignored by the media because Diane and Will ran interference. We repeatedly warned Will not to endorse McCain nor to represent to the media that we had decided to vote for him, although there were a significant number of PUMAs who opted to do that. Some, like Betty Jean and Harriet Christian, campaigned for McCain and followed JSND’s lead. We preferred not to do that. We didn’t endorse anyone and followed our own voting strategies out of protest. But Will was out there on the campaign trail and one of the last teleconferences I had with JSND was that they very much wanted the PUMAs to work for McCain. It was at that point that we took their badge off of our page. We had to draw the line somewhere.
    I think that is Will’s advocacy of McCain is one of the reasons why PUMAs have a bad name in some circles. He was virtually the only PUMA face on TV and he was a McCain guy. What were people supposed to think?
    We never got a chance to speak for ourselves. In Denver, Diane and Will had the best interviews. I don’t think they really understood the strategy. They were very much invested in their own livelihoods. I have to give them credit for quitting their jobs to do this stuff full time but they should have been better prepared before they became our PR arm.
    And then the final blow was that they pretty much closed up shop after the election. That was inexcusable.

  18. I don’t really believe that Obama is a Steelers fan.

    Speaking of which, I have to confess I won’t be cheering for the Stillers tomorrow.

    The reason?

    Two words – “Immaculate Reception”

  19. myiq: I think the fact that he has a voice on Huffington Post makes him the defacto spokesperson whether we like it or not. After all, Ariana has yet to offer any of us a post. In the whole scheme of things, I think we will get more things done than Will, as soon as we make some decisions, but until we do that, yeah, he’s it.
    And no, he doesn’t represent me.

  20. The “Immaculate Reception” was a miracle performed by Saint Franco. You, myiq, are a BLASPHEMER!

  21. In the interviews I saw with Will he always made a point of saying that PUMAs as a group did not all support McCain. He always pointed out that some supported McCain, some were voting for third parties, some were not voting.

  22. RD:

    I think Bower was and is GOP

    From the beginning he was saying he wanted Hillary to be McCain’s VP, and he’s got a bunch of pro-Palin links at JSND right now.

  23. myiq> What do you mean by “from the beginning?”

  24. In the interviews with Will he usually mentioned the three options PUMAS had. McCain was mentioned because that was what the media usually focused on. After Hillary’s speech in Denver, he said that she had reminded him of what it meant to be a Democrat (paraphrasing) and he didn’t know whether he would vote for McCain.

  25. (I’m not Sheri Tag): I would like to make a comment about “stay at home moms” and some of the references that I have seen here on this blog to these moms on other occasions.

    I was a stay-at-home mom, although did “work” (as though being a mom or taking care of a home full-time isn’t work) part-time in and out of the home. Pre-baby, I was a paralegal. I was also a lucky 40 year old who conceived and had our daughter; my first child. I worked part-time so that I could take care of our new baby who was born btw two months early (high risk pregnancy).

    We weren’t “wealthy” nor was our decision for one of us to stay home with our child made because one of us made so much money. It so happened that hubby had more earning power (there we go again) so I was the one to stay home with dear dtr. We sacrificed and sometimes sacrificed aplenty in order to do this – which was an important decision FOR US to do this. Our dtr had health issues (that continue to this day; she’s 21 now).

    I worked and I worked hard at my most important job of raising my daughter. That was my priority in life. That doesn’t mean that mothers who choose to work full-time outside the home and have careers do not apply this notion to their own children. It simply means that we felt my job was to be home with our daughter and apply all of my energy and time to her.

    When she started school, I began part-time work outside of the home (again) and then inside the home for attorneys. But, I did my stay-at-home job quite well and to the fullest extent. Many tasks that those that work outside the home cannot do simply because they are not there. And, this is not due to “pre-feminist days” (my age) because all of the stay at home moms in my community were much younger than me and from a different generation.

    So, I just wanted to point this out in support of stay-at-home moms – we are all moms whether we choose to be stay-at-home moms or work outside the home moms. And, we all work hard and love our children. We are all sisters. I will guarantee that MOST parents who choose for one to stay-at-home are not rich nor have extra money floating around or made the stay at home decision lightly or frivolously.

    It takes courage to be a stay at home mom. I have told my own daughter, who is in college now and seeking a career that whether or not to stay home with your children is a personal decision and one made for various reasons.

    So, uh, yeah – what is feminism? MY TWO CENTS!

  26. DYB: At one point, Will asked Taggles if he could go on NO WE WON’T and essentially promote McCain. At that time, I called him up and had a long conversation with him asking him specifically not to do that or to imply that any of us were working for McCain. After that, he said he was voting for McCain but he also gave a standard disclaimer.
    As for his primary election efforts, he wasn’t the first one to come up with some really good suggestions for that. Anglachelg had some really good posts on the subject that came waaaay before Will’s.
    I don’t know where his political loyalties are. I don’t think he is a Republican and I think he is basically a good person. It just seems like he’s a bit of a rogue element. I don’t know who his base is.

  27. AP story says the leading candidate for Commerce Secretary is…drumroll please…Republican Senator Judd Gregg.


    Among his many attributes Mr. Gregg is credited with playing a major part in the Wall Street bailout bill. And he’d likely be replaced by a Democrat, which means Dems would have a fillibuster proof majority.

  28. I’m in moderation at 12:51.

  29. Thanks for the B52’s. Sadly, I was long gone from college when they made their debut.

  30. Well, I’m rooting for the Steelers despite the despicable way they disrespected the Patriots back in 2002. The fact that the Patriots beat the pants off them and made them pay helps.

  31. One way that would help with equal pay is to copy the way railroad pays it’s workers.
    The job is advertised with a pay rate, example crew dispatcher 500:000 wkly. Then the person that get that job makes that amount. The gender does not matter.
    Management jobs are advertised with a pay range, example 35,000 to 50,000 yearly. Yes there can be discrimination in the management salary against women but that is not usually the case. Most pay rates are judged on seniority not gender.
    This is not a perfect system but it seems to me to be better than a lot of companies.



  32. Sheri (un-tag): The source of my frustration with stay-at-home moms is all over your comment. There is this notion that stay-at-homes “sacrifice” for the sake of their kids and the rest of us don’t. I know, I know, you’re going to say that’s not what you said but it is what you implied.
    I didn’t have the choice to stay home with my kids and wouldn’t even if I did. I have always liked the world of work. I won’t apologize for feeling satisfied with using my brain to do useful things. And the stay-at-homes on *my* street didn’t appear to use their brains for much of anything. I’m sorry, but their lives were incredibly boring to me. I would have gone stark raving mad at home.
    But I did make the trip to my daughter’s daycare center every single day for a year in order to nurse her. In retrospect, Brook probably could have benefited from a stay at home something. She’s a very gifted kid who never fit in with her same age peers. But it could have only worked if I had more people like myself staying home too and there just never were any around. Maybe a better solution is to allow women to take their kids to work with them.
    But please don’t tell me that your sacrifice was greater than mine or other women’s sacrifices. We did double duty both at work and at home.

  33. RD: I NEVER said that moms that work outside the home don’t sacrifice for their kids. Certainly I did not say that my sacrifice is greater than yours. I ONLY answered to my own sacrifice. Please reread my post. I pointed this out explicitly so as not to get this response. In fact, I made it a point to let readers know my stance in that I have opted for both sides of the coin for my own daughter – I will support her 1000% if she chooses a career and chooses to be a mom!!! 1000%!

    I find your response rather insulting. Let me tell you how I used my brain at that time: Firstly, I was CEO of the household and I did it well. I handled all of the finances, I volunteered at school and all the “outside activiites” and organized all of them for the kids. BUT, my daughter had a disability – so did I sit back and let hte school system deny her an education? Nope – I single handedly fought the School Board and went all the way to Civil Rights Dept; I also fought the medical system and believe me, all of this took more than half a brain.

    RD – please show me where I said “my sacrifice was greater than yours.” And, you didn’t DO what I “did” at home.

  34. LOL! Rock Lobster with a paintbrush!

    I still have all my b52’s albums around here someplace.
    Stagnant wages were reason for grad school mid nineties, RD & Co.

    Oh the tales I could tell about the newspaper industry under guess who and the total DECLINE of raises by cheapskates…

    like 1% —? for years, and always the sad tale of “we aren’t making any profit!” Yeah right. Now they tank, bigly!

    It’s really sad at the LAT, and betcha Modo is on very thin ice about now…

    Of course, smart thinking feminist types know how to make their own NEWSPAPERS!


    hugs RD.

    I used to love that industry — when it was real… I really did. It was the only time I worked under a union deal as a contract and guess who screwed that up when they bought the place?

    Under that contract we were all considered “journeymen” regardless of sex. We went through an apprenticeship and were paid exactly the same! My old boss would call us in and give us 1.00 an hour raises in the 80s. It was a “family” company then.

    Before it got sold and went corporate.

    My boss was one of the first to be ousted. He died of a heart attack not long after. It had been his whole life — he was such a wonderful man…

    It was the kind of job an artist took? Because what do you do with that BA? — hmmm……

    To see what is happening to that industry out west?


    so sad, for everyone concerned…

    So sad.

    it’s the really American institutions that have suffered…



    ps: good luck on the trim & stuff and I bet Brook is so HAPPY!

    How fab and can’t await to see the pix!

  35. Well, business appears to be drying up in my consultancy, but I refuse to die of a heart attack.

    I also always had a funny feeling about Bower. Whenever I saw him on the air, he neither seemed to embody the full rage that I felt at BO and the DNC for all the cheating, nor did he seem to have a clear path in mind for the disenfranchised middle like me, cept a sterile position to vote McCain.

    I supported Hillary for one reason and one reason above all. Her competence for the job was superior to anyone within 10,000 miles. Being a woman was a bonus. I voted for McCain/Palin for one reason and one reason above all. The possibility of seeing Hillary in 2012. The vote being a protest against BO was a bonus. I liked Palin more than McCain, as a person and as a politician. I came to The Confluence for one reason and one reason above all. To find a group of smart like-minded people who shared a vision to continue pressing for the goals Hillary had articulated in her campaign and for the new ones she would have as SoS. The new feminist agenda was a bonus. What I did not expect was an almost exclusive women’s group.

    Whatever the vision or mandate for PUMA or TC going forward (a new party, a referendum/check on Barry, realizing/supporting Hillary forward, firing up the new woman’s movement, defining a new alliance/platform for LGBT), whichever of these the group settles on, one thing is very clear in my mind. You will not be able to fully accomplish any of these things, without men. And I say that with extreme pragmatim, with my personal male ego in the freezer. Misogyny in all its forms (not only male to female) defeated Hillary. But it seems as if BO has become the trope for all things wrong about men. I am not being defensive (remember freezer). Just what I have observed on the blog so far, as you have generously allowed. Whatever the future holds, I love you all.

  36. Just to add to the comments on the Lilly Ledbetter act – I’m very glad this passed, because while it does benefit more categories than just women, it is a hurdle women must pass.

    And RD is right in pointing out there are additional hurdles only women must clear. Another HUGE one is legal representation. Since the EEOC stopped enforcing discrimination law some time ago, all that’s left for employees is go to court themselves. Lawyers do not have to take any case they don’t want to, they don’t have to give a reason, and most won’t touch anything that doesn’t give the highest return on their time. (The altruistic lawyers are mostly in legal aid, which is prohibited from taking sex discrimination cases.) That’s why the unlimited damages for race, religion and national origin are so important – lawyers will take those cases and as a result, employers are less willing to discriminate, knowing there’s a some risk they’ll get caught.

    And in case anyone’s heard of a lawyer taking a case for a woman recently, check to make sure it isn’t race discrimination. It almost always is.

    Riverdaughter’s right, LL is just one of many necessary parts that must be in place before women have a realistic chance at earning enough to not be dependent on men.

  37. RD, if it makes you feel any better, I’m painting today too! My hand muscles will never be the same again…

  38. Sheri- Here’s my point: If you want solidarity with women who work, there is one word you should NEVER utter. Sacrifice.
    We are sick to death of that word being used as a cudgel against us. You stayed home. That was your choice. Now, shut up about the “sacrifice”. Sorry to be so terse.

  39. happy birthday to BROOKE,,R.D. and congratulations on the basement..waiting for pics,,

  40. What a thrill to see the B-52s posted here. I got to hang with them in the ’80s and they were a total BLAST!

    But you can’t find the B-52s video, RD, because Warner Music Group keeps having it blocked.

    The awesome Josie Cotton was furious last week on her Myspace site because she isn’t allowed to post a copy of her signature song, ‘Johnny, Are You Queer?’. HER OWN SONG on her own account! Sorry – not allowed.

    And the music industry know-it-alls can’t figure out why the industry is collapsing. Brainiacs. They should run for president.

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