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Equal Pay for Equal Work: Not Happening, Ladies. Now, Go Buy Some Beauty Products.

Nine to Five - What a Way to Make a Living

Nine to Five - What a Way to Make a Living

Being home sick is not all bad. Yesterday I was able to watch the end of one of my favorite movies from the 80’s, “Nine to Five“, starring Lily Tomlin, Jane Fonda, Dolly Parton and the deliciously villainous Dabney Coleman as their “sexist egotistical lying hypocritical bigot” of a boss.

The ladies in question all want one thing from Mr. Coleman: Respect. And they ain’t getting it. Lily Tomlin, the always-passed-over power behind the throne, finally loses it when the boss refuses yet again to give her a promised and much-deserved promotion – awarding it, of course, to the young man she trained instead. She, Fonda and Parton have a commiseration party, where they get stoned and fantasize about taking revenge on Coleman. Tomlin’s fantasy is about poisoning Coleman’s coffee. When she gets to work the next day, she finds to her horror that she has actually done so by mistake. Tomlin, Fonda and Parton then go through endless, hilarious machinations to prevent anyone from knowing that Tomlin is an attempted murderess, including kidnapping Coleman and holding him prisoner in his own house for six weeks.

During those six weeks, the ladies completely revolutionize the company that Coleman was running in such a sexist and inhuman manner. Parton can sign Coleman’s name better than he can, and they keep sending out memos from “the boss” instating female-friendly improvements, including a new day care center, a job-sharing program that allows working mothers to work part-time, and equal pay for equal work.

Coleman ends up escaping his confinement, and shows up at the firm determined to change everything back to the way it was before, and to send the women to jail for attempted murder and kidnapping. Just as he is about to call the police, the owner of the company (Mr. Tinsdale) personally shows up to commend him for increasing productivity over 20% in that short six-week period. He is delighted about absolutely everything the women have done – open to every change, except one. Holding a baby in his arms, Tinsdale remarks to Coleman under his breath, “That equal pay thing, son – that’s gotta go.” At the end of the movie, the women never solve this problem, although the script is optimistic that they will.

Alas, twenty-nine years later, nothing has changed. Mr. Tinsdale is still in charge, and he’s not even remotely as open-minded as he was in “Nine to Five.” Employers are not required to do much of anything to take care of their employees these days, and women are still paid an average of 78 cents to every man’s dollar. This disparity partially explains why the United States has fallen to 15 on the Human Development Index. (Notice that Iceland is number one – yes, the country that has just appointed an openly lesbian woman as its interim Prime Minister. Huh.)

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Credo: What do YOU believe?

What do you believe?

Some of you may have seen this before.  It seems appropriate that we reflect on what makes us Deomcrats. We will all need to come together before the fall. Let’s craft a message that even wingers will envy. Here is my credo post from last fall:

Some of us have lost our minds lately. We are putting conditions and litmus tests on our candidates. We are getting lost in the trees while failing to see the forest. We have lost the common goals that will help us stick together in the coming year and make us an effective force in setting this country back on the proper course- forward. So, I came up with my credo, my personal belief. This is what makes me a Democrat and is why I’m here. It is what makes me a proud American. Help me make it better. I am a Democrat and I believe in the common good. I believe Americans can accomplish great things when we watch each other’s backs and help each other take risks without fear of the lifetime consequences of failure.

    I believe in social justice. That is, we may not all be born with the same advantages but we are born with the right to be treated equally before the law. I believe in quality public education, the right to vote without obstructions, that individuals have the right to be treated equally regardless of sex, age, religion, marital status, national origin, disability or sexuality. I believe it is important that individuals excrcise personal responsibility but I’m not going to ask them to pull themselves up by their bootstraps and then deny them the boots. I believe in the right of employees to unionize and negotiate for better working conditions and benefits. I believe that immigrants should be offered a path to citizenship and not treated as a permanent underclass. I believe that no child in America should go to bed hungry, should forgo college because they can’t afford it or suffer from illnesss their parents can’t afford to treat.

    I believe in fiscal responsibility. I believe in using tax payer’s money responsibly. I believe in paying my taxes for the common good. I believe in a progressive tax structure. I believe that deficit spending is justified to pay for infrastructure but not for unnecessary wars. I believe in Social Security and the entrepreneurship that blossoms when citizens know they have a safety net. I believe in universal healthcare because when we are all insured, the cost of healthcare will go down for all of us.

    I believe in preserving a healthy planet. ‘Cos where else are you going to go? I believe in reducing greenhouse gases, in moving away from an oil based economy. I believe in research into alternative fuels. I believe in investment in mass transit. I believe in reducing pesticides and antibiotics in our environment. I believe in being a good global citizen and joining in committments to protect our environment.

    I believe in privacy for citizens and the right to be left alone. I believe in a citizens right to worship or not worship without penalty or reward from the state. I believe that government should stay out of our bedrooms and the sex lives of consenting adults. I believe that the government has no state interest in interfering with a woman’s right to choose to have children or not. I believe that citizens have a right to believe that their private conversations are not wiretapped, that their homes are sacrosanct and shouldn’t be searched without a warrant.

    I believe in the wise use of our forces. I believe that national security is best when our military is well-prepared, well-equipped and well rested. I believe that the national guard should be used to defend us at home and not abroad except under the direst circumstances. I believe in treating our soldiers with dignity and respect because we are asking them to put their most precious possession on the line for us. I believe we have an obligation to defend the helpless from genocide. I believe we should not pre-emptively invade a country that has not threatened us. I believe we should participate in peaceful negotiations in regions of the world where there is conflict. I believe we should not throw our weight around just because we are a superpower. I believe we should go to war only as a last resort, do the job efficiently and thoroughly and have an exit strategy.

    I believe that all of the Democratic candidates match my beliefs but that they have different ways to achieve their goals. I am going to vote for the best prepared, strongest candidate who I feel is the most capable of putting America on the path forward with solid policy and vision.

    What do YOU believe?