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My advice, whether you want it or not- 1

I’m dispensing advice to the blogosphere.  You’re welcome.

1.)To Digby, Corey Robin, et al, regarding whether the recent set backs in the rights of women in America have something to do with protecting the influence of the traditional hierarchy in the home, you’re not quite seeing the whole picture.  The backlash against women started about the time that more women were moving into the workforce, competing with men who used to get all the good jobs, frequently with little more than a high school diploma.  This was also about the same time that african americans were moving into the middle class.  It also roughly corresponded with a lag in wages compared to productivity.  We should do more research to find out if there is a correlation and what it is.

I think the push to put women “back in their place” has less to do with protecting the home than to protecting the traditional privileges of the workplace.  How can we decide which is the case?  We can look to countries with better and worse gender equity scores than the United States and do some comparisons of what cultural and legislative changes they have made in the past 100 or so years.  My gut feeling is that we are experiencing a backlash because we have rewarded the persons who promote it via their outsize representation in the media and through their culturally protected religious affiliations.  It is OK these days to say racist things and insult women by referring to them as sluts.  No harm done, says Limbaugh and the Fox News team.  There’s no law against being an ignorant bigot.

In other words, the language is being used in the service of the previously privileged.  It was and always will be the economy, stupid.  When money gets tight, women should get the f^&* out of the way and go home.  Making it hard for her to get out of the house when she’s tied to babies and lacks good childcare serves the guys very well indeed.  They’re just all hoping it’s the next guy who has to put up with the domestic situation, not them.  It’s purely opportunistic.

2.) Countries that have had a history of secret police and neighbors spying on neighbors in a manner that lead to mass murders and ruined careers tend to have a negative reaction to their allies spying on them for unknown purposes.  It’s just freaks them out in a way that Americans cannot fathom (yet).  Think twice (or thrice) about doing it.

From the NYTimes article on the expulsion of US spies from Germany, we get this nugget and advice from Angela Merkel:

As is usual with intelligence matters, the United States Embassy had no comment on the expulsion request. But in a statement, the embassy also said it was essential to maintain close cooperation with the German government “in all areas.”

“Our security relationship with Germany remains very important,” the embassy statement said. “It keeps Germans and Americans safe.”

Ms. Merkel, speaking two hours before the expulsion request was announced, said in response to reporters’ questions that spying on allies was “a waste of energy.”

“We have so many problems,” she said. “We should focus on important matters.”

Waste of energy indeed, not to mention money.  Money that could be used on mass transit and infrastructure improvements that the Republicans seem to think are unnecessary.  I guess it’s OK if New Jersey looks like Mississippi.  Mississippi might be what America looks like to Republicans and NJ is just being uppity.  How would they know the difference?  Come to think of it, I’m tempted to start a “…You might be a Republican” thing.  Like, If your friends would describe you as a greedy old prick, you might be a Republican.  Or If they would describe you as a grumpy old prude, you might be a Republican.

Wait, I’m getting off topic.

Yeah, don’t spy on your friends.  It’s unnecessary.

3.) With tensions and rockets flaring in Israel, be prepared for your local fundamentalist Christians to be almost ready to pee themselves with delight at the impending rapture.

4.) To the Republicans who are itchin’ to impeach the president– DO IT!  Yes, by all means, find something to nail on him.  Tie him up with congressional hearings.  But please, do it Blitzkrieg style, ok?  Don’t waste any time drawing the whole procedure out.  Wrap it up quickly.  Better yet, take Biden down first.  Then we can appoint Hillary to VP while you guys go for the jugular.  Then when Obama is forced out, Hillary can step up to the presidency.  It will save us a lot of money in 2016.  And it’s what everyone wants anyway.  You’d be doing us all a big favor.  Oh sure, we’ll have to put up with your nonsensical grandstanding and foaming at the mouth over a guy who is mostly ineffectual rather than criminal but when has reason ever curbed you and your destructive waste of legislative privilege?  Just do it and make it quick.

5.) When you’re planning your next kitchen renovation, do yourself a favor and pick the refrigerator first.  Make sure that the one you want will fit through your doorways and won’t bang into the expensive teak cabinets you just had to have above the refrigerator.  Because once those cabinets are up and you’ve spent thousands of dollars getting the look you want, you are going to have a hard time taking them down to accommodate the behemoth refrigerators that appliance makers are manufacturing these days.  If you have a small kitchen made smaller by those annoying cabinets that are only good for seasonal ice buckets and Rubbermaid containers, you should know that appliance makers don’t really make a lot of nice refrigerators in the small to medium category.  Yes, they are still living in 2008.  Adapt accordingly.


No More Taxation Without Representation

The Time is Now

The Time is Now

Well, my sistren and brethren, after a month of “Hope and “Change,” are you feeling sufficiently represented by your new “progressive” government?

In my case, the answer to that question is a resounding, “Hell, no!”

Legislatively, the Obama Administration has failed to impress. The Lilly Ledbetter Act finally passed, but without the Paycheck Fairness Act, it’s only good for punishing employers after they have already been paying women less based on their sex. To make a real change in the daily lives of women and their families, we needed the tougher regulations the Paycheck Fairness Act would have imposed. As for the fabled stimulus package, when the President wanted to garner Republican votes, how did he reach across the aisle? By cutting Planned Parenthood funding, which helps poor women gain access to birth control. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi was furious at this betrayal, stating in an interview that cutting the funding actually increased the size of the stimulus bill by $700 million.

Pelosi on Planned Parenthood provisions of stimulus

And of course, not one Republican vote was gained by this tactic.

In the category of gender equity in his Cabinet, President Obama gets an “F.” He could not even bring himself to do any better than George W. Bush.

That’s just sad.

Continue reading

The payoffs – and obstacles – to attending to women’s work in the current economy

Brace yourself. I know this will come as a great shock, but the economic stimulus package does not, in the opinion of genuine academics, address gender realities in the economy.

From a must-read column by Professor Mimi Abramovitz:

Contrary to popular wisdom, spending on services like health care and education produces a bigger bang for the economic-stimulus buck than billions of dollars devoted to roads and bridges. …. For years service jobs have been “reserved” for women. Could this be why mostly male economists have pushed for “shovel ready” jobs held mostly by men as the way to dig us out of the economic quagmire? Could it be that sustaining the male-breadwinner and female-homemaker division of labor trumped economic good sense?

From Professor Susan Feiner learn about W.E.A.V.E and its position on the current stimulus package:

No. 1: Revive and enforce Labor Department regulations requiring affirmative action for all federal contractors.

No. 2: Set aside apprenticeship and training programs in infrastructure projects for women and people of color. Both groups are seriously underrepresented in the construction trades.

No. 3: Spend recovery money on projects in health, child care, education and social services.

Before going into detail on these three targets, let’s also look at two over-arching problems with the current plan: Too meager, too male.

Women make up a huge proportion of the workforce, they own homes in ever greater numbers, they have consumer clout – but economically, women are systemically disadvantaged in ways that make put them at greater financial risk then  men. Whether it be for reasons of justice or reasons of prudence, our country cannot afford economic measures that do not address this disparity in risk. We must design economic programs that put women forward.

This is just incredible

Abridged from a post at Heidi Li’s Potpourri

Today was one of those days where the demands of work and life made it seem unlikely I would be posting. Frankly, I spent part of the day thinking about the fact that I know it will take a long time and a lot of patience to develop 51 Percent, to find funding for it, to make its mission clear and broadly known, and asking myself whether I had the stamina to see it through and the guts to take the risk to see whether it could become an educational backbone for a full fledged movement for social justice for women.

Also, I  wondered, whether this week and next, when so much attention will be paid to the political events of each day – and the events that merit critique will receive them from so many talented writers around the blogs and maybe even off – it made sense to post. I prefer not to repeat what others are saying, often better or more knowledgeably then I could.

But then, lo and behold, here, in Washington, DC,  the epicenter of inaugural schlock (T-shirts, onesies, coffee mugs), I received yet another email from another organization trying to make money off the onset of the Obama administration. (I’ve already been tapped by email solicitations to give money to fund the inauguration itself!). The latest organization looking for dough: Ms. Magazine. The product they are hawking: a subscription that kicks of with their special inauguration issue. The cover photo they sent, designed, one must assume to make me want to subscribe:


Honestly, I did a double-take. A triple-take. Because if a feminist looks like President-elect Obama then a feminist looks exactly like somebody who has done nothing, and I do mean nothing, to suggest that he will fight for increased social justice for women. This is not only the person who has retained Jon “The Groper” Favreau as his chief speechwriter; installed Tim “I’m not really for serious guarantees of Roe v. Wade” Kaine as the DNC Chair; appointed far fewer women to his cabinet or to cabinet-level positions than Bill Clinton did and barely the number that George W. Bush has (more on that here and here and best of all here). Between the choice of Rick “Women who exercise their right to abortion are like Nazis” Warren to give the invocation at the Inaugural Ceremony itself and total silence with regard to how the economic stimulus package he is proposing will aid those likely to be hit hardest – yes, women – I have to say that if President-Elect is Ms. Magazine’s idea of what a feminist looks like, I  would hate to see their vision of what an anti-feminist looks like.

While I will not be buying a subscription to Ms. Magazine, their solicitation reminded me that now more than ever, I want to stay the course with 51 Percent (even if it means, yes, seeking contributions from folks during these tough times – something I feel uncomfortable about – but eventually we will attract major benefactors and they, combined with the small dollar contributors will fuel the development of the Museum of Misogynistic Memorabilia and help us build up our speaker’s bureau). I founded 51 Percent because I realized that most preexisting women’s organizations got sidetracked somewhere along the way – sold out, bought off, distracted. I will not let that happen to 51 Percent. Unless we understand the basic injustice of a society where the majority remains vastly under-represented in public life (not just in politics but also in politics), we will get more magazine covers from purported feminist publications that applaud the feminism (!?!) of an incoming President who has ignored even this list of recommendations for moving justice for women to the fore of his administration.

Meanwhile, if you want to learn more about 51 Percent go here.

If you have $5.10 or $51.00 or any amount to donate, you can do so at the website or here. Moneys raised will be going to the development of the Museum of Misogynistic Memorabilia and announcing, via ads, the formation of 51 Percent and its Museum in select publications.