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      A little over 1 week in, and we’ve raised approximately $2,400. The first tier is at $5.000: A longer article on the collapse of the USSR, putting everything I’m aware of together. In particular I want to discuss the steps Gorbachev took which seem like either gross stupidity or intentional destruction. The fall of the Soviet Union was studied in great detai […]
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Occupy Atlanta Mic Checks Home Depot

Occupy Atlanta protests low wages, gender discrimination and union busting tactics at a Home Depot.  Those dirty f%^*ing hippies cleverly disguise themselves as regular people.


Can Walmart be far behind?  Remember all those women who filed a class action lawsuit and got told by the Supreme Court that they didn’t have a case because they didn’t have enough in common?

Oh, the possibilities are endless.  I see a whole nation full of mic checkers.  So easy to do.



Sunday: Getting our post-primary dander up

What is it about our culture that demands that women go back for additional training if they want to apply for the same job as a man?  We all knew that a certain amount of sexism was exerting itself early on in the primary season.  Barack Obama lost many of us permanently when he made the “likeable enough” comment during the New Hampshire debates.  And we all witnessed the horror of the gangbang debate in Philadelphia where Tim Russert actually encouraged each of the other other candidates to take a turn with Hillary.  Then Chris Matthews did his thing afterwards and pretty much told her the next day to not cry about it.  I don’t recall her complaining about it.  It was more like “bring it on”.

And they did.

But those instances are merely the outward manifestations of some internal conviction.  The source of the misogyny that plagued Clinton and is now hurled with abandon from the left at Palin is something more sinister and evil.  It is a truth universally acknowledged that a man has native and latent abilities that he merely has to assert that women only acquire by more rigorous and extensive training.  We’ve seen evidence of this in our own lives.  My Brook must repeat a year of pre-algebra while her nationally ranked peers proceed to enriched algebra.  Why?  In spite of the fact that her test scores all year were A level, she didn’t do her homework.  Until she learns to do it, the fact that she scores in the top 2% nationally in math among 12 year olds is of absolutely no value to her teachers.  Or there was my female supervisor who was passed over for head of the department for a man who stayed in the shadows for years, biding his time and not doing much of anything while she picked up the slack and managed the paperwork.

Many of us sat in rapt attention while Hillary Clinton ran circles around her male counterparts in debate.  There wasn’t a subject they threw at her that she couldn’t respond to with confidence and an in-depth knowledge and command of the policy.  Obama was clearly out of his league.  It was embarrassing.  And yet, the next day, the media would fluff him and some of them were even believing it.

The most irritating episode of this spectacle came when Jonathan Alter wrote this column in Newsweek in March of this year, speculating that the Governorship of New York should be offered to Hillary as a consolation prize for her to just drop out of the presidential primary.  Here’s the most puzzling and offensive part of the piece:

In the event that Paterson had to resign, the New York State Constitution calls for a gubernatorial election this November. Clinton would be the favorite in that contest if she were interested. Were a politically wounded Paterson to serve out Spitzer’s term, which ends in 2010, Clinton would no doubt be a strong potential candidate to succeed him.

Under the scenario sketched out by the insiders, serving two years as governor would give Clinton the executive experience to become the prohibitive favorite for the 2012 Democratic presidential nomination.

I’m sorry, say that again?  We are expecting Hillary Clinton, two term senator, former first lady of Arkansas and the United States and aide to a two term president who had her own office in the White House, to take remedial training in governor school before she can compete against a less than one term senator with absolutely NO experience working in an executive capacity at all?

It occured to me that the hatred of Clinton was so extreme among members of the press that they didn’t REALLY believe this.  They were just stating some absurd scenario to get her to go away.  But the phenomenon seems to be seeping into Sarah Palin’s coverage as well.  The President of the US is a position in the Executive branch of government.  You would think that having been an executive of a state as big and as important as Alaska would have given Palin more relevant experience than less than 142 days of experience as a US Senator, which is in the legislative branch of government.  Palin has had almost two straight years of work as a governor before she was tapped for VP.  Obama had slightly less than a year and only 142 days of actual work before he decided he was ready enough to be President of the US in a branch of government where he has never held elective office.  And instead of this provoking any questions about HIS qualifications, it is HER’S that are being dismissed as inadequate.

We are now hearing that it is ‘hubris’ for her to pronounce herself ready to occupy a spot a level down the ladder while Obama is eminently qualified to succeed to the most powerful position in the world.  Indeed, there is virtually nothing that he can not do.

The problem was not Hillary Clinton, though I am beginning to wonder what she did to the media that makes them carry this permanent grudge and unstoppable urge to crush her.  The problem is this deeply ingrained, old-husband’s tale that women are not as good as men.  No matter what they do, no matter what they achieve, no matter how much they give, they will never be as good.  But even more disturbng is the fact that this is a belief that seems to be unique to American society.  In other countries, even one as oppressive to women as Pakistan, it is possible to elect women to high office.  But in the US, the most qualified person for the job was hamstrung by this neanderthal belief that she wasn’t ready, despite her display of knowledge and command and extensive resume as the guy she was running against with the razor thin CV but the leadership brain structure that only needed to be activated.  Is it because we as a country haven’t reached a state of economic desperation that we still have the luxury to let men play at being leaders?  When we get to that stage, will we then be willing to let a woman of greater potential have a crack at it?  Does the entire country have to be on the verge or past ruin before we correctly assess and weigh the experience and abilities of all persons applying for the job and award the job based on merit?

It must be nice to be a man in America.  Your abilities are almost never questioned.  One almost imagines American men waking up in the morning and quietly uttering the prayer, “Oh God I thank thee that I was not born an American woman.”

That’s gotta stop.

In 2008, we have the opportunity to make sure American men get the message.

Hillarious insight from mwb from the comments:

I think we need to add a new term to the lexicon to sum up that prevalent bit of sexism. I’m calling it Penis Years* (not a coincidence that it echoes the term dog years.)

* Penis Years: Each year of any experience of a person with a penis is equivalent to five years of experience by someone without a penis.

Swanspirit has an “extension” to the definition of Penis Years:

The measurements of PENIS YEARS …. as with fishing … are usually not well defined by any specific or traditional system and are always greatly exaggerated

Use liberally.

A letter from Lynette

I am reprinting a letter from Dr. Lynette Long that was sent to me today. Although I agree with many of the points Lynette makes, I am not as willing to go as far as she has with an endorsement. Everyone is encouraged to take as much time as they like in choosing whether to vote or not this year. This is Dr. Long’s POV and I find her thoughts on gender equity point on. My own daughter, who scores in the top 2% nationally in math has been forced to repeat a year of pre-algebra in spite of good grades. Many of her male classmates with her scores are taking a math class that will put her two years behind them next year. There was no arguing with the teacher. Brook just didn’t register on her radar and after March, she stopped calling on Brook in class. Brook is 12. Fortunately, she was admitted to Stanford University’s EPGY program based on the strength of her standardized test scores. She doesn’t have to fall behind but it is a sad situation that forces her to teach herself, via distance learning, with virtually no encouragement from her teachers or peer group. Already, it is expected that she will have to work much harder to get half as far. Discrimination starts young.

Without further interruption, a letter from Lynette:

The X Factor

by Lynette Long

Gloria Steinem, in her recent editorial in the Los Angeles Times, came out strongly against Governor Palin claiming the only thing women have in common with Palin is an X chromosome. I respectfully disagree. Governor Palin knows what it is like to be a woman, a mother, a daughter, a sister – things the two men on the Democratic ticket can never fully understand. She knows what it is like to grow up invisible in an incredibly sexist society, to be stared at, groped, and sexually harassed. She knows what it is like to be smaller in stature than men and physically vulnerable. She knows what it’s like to worry that you are pregnant when you don’t want to be or that you are not pregnant when you want to be. Sarah Palin knows what it is to experience the joys and sorrows of motherhood, to nurse a baby while holding down a job, to leave for work in the morning with a toddler tugging at your pant leg, or to have your children calling you at work to diffuse squabbles or ask for help with homework. She knows that once you get to work you have to speak twice as loud and twice as often to be heard and work twice a hard to go half as far. She knows what it is to be a member of the second sex.

Gender is the most fundamental human characteristic. The first comment made when a child is born is either, “It’s a girl” or “It’s a boy.” From that second on, boys and girls live in parallel universes in the same culture. From the nursery room to the board room, boys and girls are given different messages about their respective roles in the world. At the hospital they are given different types of names and wrapped in different color blankets. Once home, baby girls and boys wear fundamentally different clothes and play with different toys. This differentiation extends through school where girls are given less attention, picked less frequently to answer questions and placed less often in advanced science and math classes. Once in the workforce, women are steered into lower-paying careers, paid less for the same work, and forced to juggle the responsibilities of work and home. You can’t learn what it is to be a woman, unless you are one. You can’t have a government essentially devoid of women that knows what’s best for women. You can’t legislate for women, without women.

After the last Democratic Primary was over and it was clear Senator Clinton was not going to get the Democratic nomination, myself, and a small group of Clinton supporters met with Senator McCain and Carly Fiorina. I personally explained to Senator McCain that women comprise well over half of the population, yet are underrepresented in every branch of government. I asked him loudly and clearly to choose a woman for the VP slot and to increase the number of women in the cabinet and on the Supreme Court. Senator McCain listened respectfully to my request. Representatives of The New Agenda also met with Carly Fiorina and as well as representatives from the Obama campaign to
make similar requests.

After the Democratic Primary, I was also in contact with a member of Obama’s Finance Committee. He left several messages on my office phone, “urging” me to support Senator Obama. We had numerous contentious conversations and I finally told him I would be happy to vote for Senator Obama and rally other Hillary supporters to vote for Senator Obama but in return I wanted Obama to pledge gender parity in the cabinet. I foolishly thought equal representation in government was a reasonable request. “What if there aren’t qualified women you still expect us to appoint half women to the cabinet?” he replied. I was confused. “There are 300 million people in this country; you’re telling me you can’t find ten qualified women?” His responded, “You can’t have that.” We had no further conversations. There was nothing more to say.

Weeks later I approached a training session for DNC canvassers at a park in my neighborhood. Eager to practice their new skills, they all ran up to me, “Do you support Senator Obama? Do you want to donate money to the DNC?” After explaining that I was a Hillary supporter, I again made my request. I will support Senator Obama if he will pick a woman as his running mate and promise gender parity in the cabinet. The men in the group openly laughed at me and found my request ridiculous. I looked at the horrified faces of the newly minted female canvassers. “They’re laughing at you too,” I muttered.

Not one to give up, I contacted a daughter of a friend of mine who is a policy advisor for Obama. She assured me Obama was a good guy, so I posed my request to her. She generously responded, “I’ll ask him.” When I did not hear back from her in a few days, I shot her another email. She told me how disappointed she was in me for making such a stupid request. Obama was on the “right” side of the issues. Why did it matter whether men or women legislated those issues? I guess the answer from Obama was No. What saddened me was her mother was one of this nation’s greatest champions of title nine, educational equity and gender parity. Her mother and I counted the number of pictures of boys and girls in text books, male and female cartoon characters, and documented the underrepresentation of girls in math classes in our nation’s schools. Yes, policy is important but who decides and delivers that policy is even more important. As Marshall McLuhan profoundly noted, “The medium is the message.” Children incorporate many of their perceptions about gender by five years old. Little girls won’t understand if Sarah Palin is pro-life or pro-choice, believes in gun control or is a member of the NRA, but they will know the Vice-President of the United States of America is a girl and that alone will alter their perceptions of themselves.

I have given my loyalty to the Democratic Party for decades. My party, which is comprised primary of women, has not put a woman on a presidential ticket for 24 years. My party refused to nominate my candidate, Hillary Clinton, for president or vice president, even though she received more votes than any other candidate in history. My party stood silently by as Hillary Clinton was eviscerated by the mainstream media. My party was mute while MSM repeatedly called Clinton a bitch and symbolically called me and every other woman in this country a bitch. My party was disturbingly silent when the MSM commented on Hillary’s body or the shrillness of her voice, reminding me and every other woman the fundamental disrespect we endure on a daily basis. My party’s candidate was mute when Rev. Jeremiah Wright and Father Pfleger openly mocked Senator Clinton from the pulpit of Trinity United Church of Christ. My party’s candidate was silent when the rapper Ludicrous released a new song calling Hillary a bitch. My party and it’s candidate gave their tacit approval for the attacks on Senator Hillary Clinton and consequently women in general.

I have a choice. I can vote for my party and it’s candidates which have demonstrated a blatant disrespect for women and a fundamental lack of integrity or I can vote for the Republican ticket which has heard our concerns and put a woman on the ticket but with whom I fundamentally don’t agree on most issues. If Democratic women wait for the perfect woman to come along, we will never elect a woman. We have to seize opportunity where it presents itself. Besides, the Democratic Party is no longer my home. I have no home, but this election I will make my bed somewhere else.

I respect Gloria Steinem’s right to support the presidential ticket of her choice but she is openly trying to derail Sarah Palin’s historic candidacy. As Madeleine Albright said, “There is a special place in hell for women who don’t help other women.” I will vote for McCain-Palin. I urge other women to do the same. I might not personally agree with Palin on every issue and I promise to the first person knocking on her door, if Roe v. Wade, or any other legislation that goes against the rights of women is threatened. But in Governor Palin I find a woman of integrity, who not only talks the talk but walks the walk. I can work with that. I will work with that. When I walk down the street, I don’t have democrat printed on my forehead, but my gender is obvious to everyone and impacts every interaction in my life. Since my country is far from gender neutral, right now for me gender trumps everything else. I urge other women to join me in this fight for equality. Sometimes opportunities occur where you least expect them.

Lynette Long