Women Don't Freeze Their Eggs Because They're Pretty
A writer in New York Magazine, Kat Stoeffel, says if companies cover egg freezing -- as was recently in the news -- they should also cover day care:
Being able to plan fertilization independent of one's biological clock won't help women once they're pregnant and mothers, which is when the real leaning out begins. After giving birth, women still have to contend with a workplace designed for men in two-parent, single-earner households, not to mention discrimination for even wanting to be there instead of at home with their baby. Leveling the playing field between men, women, parents, and nonparents would require a lot of things. Health insurance that covers birth control, abortion, and maternity care without co-pays, for one. Paid maternity, paternity, and family leave, for another. Nursing rooms, on-site child care, flexible work schedules, telecommuting -- the list goes on.
I just don't understand why all these things should be covered without co-pays -- unless we all get that for our, say, dermatology appointments, so we can clear up our adult acne and go out and meet a partner.
Apple and Facebook already offer above-average family benefits. Apple recently announced that mothers can take up to four weeks before delivery and "upwards of 14 weeks after giving birth," while fathers and other non-birth parents can take six weeks. Facebook offers four months of parental leave for birth parents and non-birth parents alike during the first year, plus flexible work hours, telecommuting, $4,000 in "baby cash," subsidized laundry, and a child-care reimbursement (the company is only able to offer full-time on-site day care for employee dogs). Making sure employees feel secure enough to take advantage of these benefits -- and aren't mommy-tracked upon their return -- is another story.
There are choices in life and they come with costs. I work constantly -- because that's my priority. As I've written before, if you choose to subtract your time and effort from your employer and put it toward your child -- or maintaining your backyard Hot Wheels track -- that is your choice, but you shouldn't expect the same promotions, money, or other benefits as employees who are more devoted to their jobs.
More from her piece:
By adding egg freezing to the mix, employers signal their recognition that the demands of the workplace aren't always compatible with child rearing. But they also risk sending the same message as Lean In: that women need to adapt to meet the demands of an (often hostile) workplace, not the other way around. And if we look to egg freezing as a solution to the question of work-life balance, then we risk conceding that women probably shouldn't dare get pregnant until they're important and rich enough to either demand or pay for the rest themselves. We risk agreeing that mothers are inherently less-than-ideal employees (something most people who have witnessed firsthand the time- and human-management powers of working moms would probably contest). Offering egg freezing, Extend Fertility founder Christy Jones told NBC, "can help women be more productive human beings." That doesn't seem quite right -- raising children, after all, is a very productive human behavior. But egg freezing can help women be more like men.
I recently hired a new assistant to replace my beloved and wonderful assistant who lost his mind (aka decided to go live off the grid...which I love to tease him about). The new guy, who's terrific, has an obligation until the end of October on Fridays, which is an important work day for me -- basically, the prep day for my deadline days.
Well, because he's terrific, I decided to make this work, though it's hard for me (for various boring reasons).
That's what employers do -- if they have employees who are worth sacrificing for on some level, they do that. But the fact that you have a vagina and want to fill it up with a baby doesn't necessarily make you valuable.
That's not the PC truth, but it's the honest one.
A counterpoint from the comments at NYMag -- a remark by alexandrasuhner:
Maybe companies should actually invest in some REAL research into how female/mother employees affect the workplace. I had a friend high up the corporate ladder in media and he said the best employees were new Moms. He accepted that they had to leave early occasionally to deal with problems with their kids, but as a result, they were extremely hardworking while they were at work, and very grateful for their jobs. He said that generally they worked harder than the men, and he knew that there was no chance they would leave for a business lunch at 12 and come back drunk at 6pm. Plus the female employers are more likely to stay in a job rather than move around. Maybe it is time employers look - statistically - at how mothers affect the workplace and they might be pleasantly surprised.
Recent Feminist Jell-O-headedness In Academia
Arielle Schlesinger writes at HASTAC, Humanities, Arts, Science, & Technology Alliance Collaboratory:
As a student of Technology and Social Change, I am currently exploring what a feminist programing language would look like for my thesis.
She explains in her post:
Feminism and Programming Languages
In the scope of my research, a feminist programming language is to be built around a non-normative paradigm that represents alternative ways of abstracting. The intent is to encourage and allow new ways of thinking about problems such that we can code using a feminist ideology.
The first commenter, Barry Peddycord III, says it (unintentionally, it seems) -- while seeming to high-five her later in his post:
Oh my gosh yes this is awesome.
For the longest time, I've been thinking about programming languages as a computer-human interaction problem: the purpose of a language is to make its features (affordances) obvious to its users.
A friend of a Facebook friend posted this comment on this ridiculousness -- apparently gleaned from this page:
"The traditional binary foundation of 1s and 0s is deeply problematic: 1 is inherently phallic and thus misogynistic. Also, some 1s are 0s, and some 0s are 1s. It is not fair to give them immutable labels. Instead, we have 0s and Os as our fundamental binary logic gates. They symbolise/-ize the varying, natural, and beautiful differences of the female vaginal opening."
The Age Of Overprotective Idiocy
A mother practically coughed up an organ in horror after her 10-year-old son came home from Tesco supermarket with a purple mini-knife in a pumpkin-carving kit.
10, not 2.
'I couldn't believe that he could pick that sort of thing up as a child - there should have been an age restriction on it.'
I had access to knives from probably the age of 6 or 8. Or before. (As did kids throughout human history.)
Whoops, seems I forgot to slit anyone's throat or...what, exactly, would the danger be here? Give it to the nearest toddler as a play-toy?
I think some mothers look for a reason to act out in fear and horror. It makes them feel like they're being mother-y and responsible, when actually, they're just coddling their kids out of growing up, which involves taking on increasing responsibility.
(What does this lady give her kid at dinner-time, a plastic spork to manage the food she puts through a blender for him? Do she and her husband, if any, keep some intense watch over the children to make sure none off themselves or each other with a steak knife before dessert?)
The Tainted Treats Myth Lives On
If you spend $5 on a marijuana lollypop, are you really going to give it out to the kiddies?
This would serve what purpose, exactly? The joy of thinking, "I got some 5-year-old high?"
And frankly, as a kid, we weren't going to eat some weirdly wrapped off-brand candy. We wanted Snickers, the Hershey's Miniatures dark, etc.
Jacob Sullum writes at reason that the folk tale of people giving kids pot-laced candy lives on -- despite a lack of evidence that anybody actually does that:
Last week the DPD posted a video in which Patrick Johnson, proprietor of Denver's Urban Dispensary, warns that "there's really no way to tell the difference between candy that's infused and candy that's not infused" once the products have been removed from their original packages. The video illustrates Johnson's point with images of innocuous-looking gummy bears and gumdrops. He advises parents to inspect their kids' Halloween haul and discard anything that looks unfamiliar or seems to have been tampered with.
Det. Aaron Kafer of the DPD's Marijuana Unit amplifies that message in an "Ask the Expert" podcast, saying "there's a ton of edible stuff that's out there on the market that's infused with marijuana that could be a big problem for your child." Noting that "all marijuana edibles have to be labeled," Kafer recommends that parents make sure their kids "avoid and not consume anything that is out of the package."
CNN turned these warnings into a widely carried story headlined "Tricks, Treats and THC Fears in Colorado." According to CNN, "Colorado parents have a new fear to factor in this Halloween: a very adult treat ending up in their kids' candy bags."
Actually, this fear is not so new. For years law enforcement officials have been warning parents to be on the lookout for marijuana edibles in their kids' trick-or-treat sacks. And for years, as far as I can tell, there has not been a single documented case in which someone has tried to get kids high by doling out THC-tainted treats disguised as ordinary candy. Since 1996, the year that California became the first state to legalize marijuana for medical use, the newspapers and wire services covered by the Nexis database have not carried any reports of such trickery, although they have carried more than a few articles in which people worry about the possibility.
After the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) raided a San Francisco manufacturer of marijuana edibles in September 2007, for instance, the agency claimed it was protecting children, especially the ones who dress up in costumes and go begging for candy on October 31. "Kids and parents need to be careful in case kids get ahold of this candy," said Javier Pena, special agent in charge of the DEA's San Francisco office. "Halloween is coming up." According to the Contra Costa Times, medical marijuana advocates "dismissed Pena's Halloween reference as an 'absurd' attempt at 'pure publicity.'"
There is a cost to such bogeyman stories, and it goes beyond needlessly discarded candy. These rumors portray the world as a darker, more dangerous place than it really is, which is probably not conducive to a happy childhood or a successful adulthood. At the same time, the credence that public officials lend to such fanciful fears makes any reasonably skeptical person doubt other warnings from the same authorities, an unfortunate result when those warnings happen to be accurate and useful.
The sky is falling! The sky is falling!
(And it's making your children high!
Before you know it, your daughter will be turning tricks on the street corner and your son will be making meth out of your shed!
P.S. Pot was plenty available growing up and it was plenty available before medical marijuana.
Just Bend Over A Little!
Ars Technica's Robert Lemos's blog post headline:
FBI director to citizens: Let us spy on you
Excerpt from the piece:
The increasing adoption of encryption technologies could leave law enforcement agents "in the dark" and unable to collect evidence against criminals, the Director of the FBI said in a speech on Thursday.
Better that there's difficulty collecting evidence against criminals than ease collecting evidence against all of us.
Don't think it can't be used, won't be used.
The erosion of civil liberties, which has gone on at an increasing pace over the past five years and over the past decade, is exceptionally dangerous.
Especially because so many Americans can't be bothered about it.
Not Living With Your Nose In Your Phone: It's A Choice
There's yet another article -- this one a blog item in The New York Times by Jenna Wortham -- about somebody being ruled by their phone. Wortham writes:
My phone has transformed my life for the better. It has made me a more efficient worker, enabled a healthy and loving long-distance relationship and allowed me to keep up with friends.
Even so, I'm as guilty as anyone of using my phone as a crutch, either to avoid talking to people I don't know at a party, or to stave off boredom while waiting for a friend in a bar. I'm also easily distracted by the various pings and vibrations coming from my iPhone, and often find myself drawn into an endless loop of checking alerts, reading my social media streams and replying to non-urgent email and text messages. Often, I can't resist sneaking a peek at the screen during movies or other outings. And as much as I hate to admit it, I've occasionally been so preoccupied by a text message that I've almost bumped into someone on the street.
I realize the pull of the phone -- to chimp-like, click the button and check email. But I choose to live life in the moment rather than with my nose in the phone.
It didn't take much to do this. I just realized the value of talking to strangers in bars and letting your mind wander while you're in line and taking in the flowers as you walk the dog.
I also choose to not be one of the self-absorbed assholes making everyone leap around them as they text on the sidewalk, crossing the street, and stopping stock-still at the bottom of escalators. This didn't take some major move on my part -- just a decision and a decision to stick to it, same as I stick to my "no doing stuff on your phone while the car is moving."
Two Male Strippers Would Have Done A Better Job Running The CDC
Male strippers Axl Goode and Taylor Cole decided to self-quarantine (though it was not required by the CDC) after they flew seated several feet from Amber Joy Vinson, the nurse who was diagnosed with Ebola, but allowed by the CDC to fly.
Here's the story about them in the NY Daily News.
Mary Katherine Ham writes at Hot Air:
The two dancers are self-quarantining for the three-week incubation period of the deadly disease, citing a desire to take a "proactive approach to protecting people," and are surprised the CDC didn't require it. Here's hoping they just get three weeks off work and 15 minutes of fame, and not Ebola.
The experience of these men speaks to the CDC's larger problems in gaining trust with the American people to fight an Ebola outbreak. The agency, whose approval numbers are falling precipitously, has routinely made assurances that were later proven untrue, failed to be as proactive as Axl and Taylor, and made moves so obviously reckless that humble, normal Americans look at the agency's conduct and quite rationally conclude it's not to be trusted.
This is not panic or the result of some political campaign to undermine the CDC. This is self-inflicted. For instance, the CDC told Vinson, who has been exposed to Ebola and had a slight fever, that she could jump on a plane to the Midwest.
It also failed to anticipate the need to monitor a nurse who may have handled an Ebola patient's samples. That nurse is now isolated in her cabin on a cruise ship, which are of course infamous hotbeds for contagious disease outbreaks.
Vinson, for her part, asked the CDC if she should fly and made a mistake in trusting their advice. Axl and Taylor aren't making the same mistake, and many Americans will be inclined to be wary as well. Again, that reaction is a direct result of the CDC's actions in handling Ebola.
Why Almost 50 Percent Of Doctors Give Obamacare A "D" Or An "F"
(Perhaps because a "G" -- which I'd give it, per my experience related below -- isn't an actual grade.)
At The Hill, Jeffrey A. Singer, M.D., counts himself among the discontented:
Obamacare has harmed too many of my patients.
It has done so by disrupting the doctor-patient relationship and thereby worsening the quality of patients' care. This is the heart and soul of medicine, as I have learned in in my 33 years as a practicing physician. The doctor-patient relationship is critical for positive health outcomes because it allows both parties to work together to identify and ultimately treat medical problems. Simply put, a relationship of trust and continuity is essential to our professional mission.
Obamacare's assault on the doctor-patient relationship first manifested this time last year, when my patients began receiving cancellation letters indicating that their plans didn't meet the law's minimum requirements.
Some of my patients were transferred to plans that did not include me in the physician network. In some cases this meant they had to find another surgeon to assume care while they were recovering from the first stage of a multistage surgical course. Others were enrolled in one of the Medicaid plans in which I participate. These plans make it difficult for me to coordinate with other specialists when treating cancer and other complex surgical patients because of the scarcity and distance of other specialists in the plan. And some could only afford plans that significantly limited their health care options.
No matter which option they chose, Obamacare forced my patients to make trade-offs between pricing, access, and quality of care.
Read also how patients are forced onto Medicaid, where they get substandard care.
In The New York Times, Abby Goodnough and Robert Pear report a piece, "Unable to Meet the Deductible or the Doctor":
Patricia Wanderlich got insurance through the Affordable Care Act this year, and with good reason: She suffered a brain hemorrhage in 2011, spending weeks in a hospital intensive care unit, and has a second, smaller aneurysm that needs monitoring.
But her new plan has a $6,000 annual deductible, meaning that Ms. Wanderlich, who works part time at a landscaping company outside Chicago, has to pay for most of her medical services up to that amount. She is skipping this year's brain scan and hoping for the best.
"To spend thousands of dollars just making sure it hasn't grown?" said Ms. Wanderlich, 61. "I don't have that money."
About 7.3 million Americans are enrolled in private coverage through the Affordable Care Act marketplaces, and more than 80 percent qualified for federal subsidies to help with the cost of their monthly premiums. But many are still on the hook for deductibles that can top $5,000 for individuals and $10,000 for families -- the trade-off, insurers say, for keeping premiums for the marketplace plans relatively low. The result is that some people -- no firm data exists on how many -- say they hesitate to use their new insurance because of the high out-of-pocket costs.
Insurers must cover certain preventive services, like immunizations, cholesterol checks and screening for breast and colon cancer, at no cost to the consumer if the provider is in their network. But for other services and items, like prescription drugs, marketplace customers often have to meet their deductible before insurance starts to help.
This is what's happened to me. A breast surgeon ordered me to get breast MRIs every couple of years a few years back. Before we got the "Affordable" Care Act shoved down our throats, I did this -- paying a $50 co-pay. Now, with Obamacare, my health care payment is not only unaffordable but I also have some multi-thousand-dollar deductible. So now, those MRIs will sock me for $700 -- which I can't afford to pay. I'm hoping eating low-carb and almost no sugar and leading what's probably a pretty healthy lifestyle will keep the cancer away.
So, I went from having very good care I could afford to not having the care doctors ordered for me because the "Affordable" Care Act made it unaffordable for me.
Thanks so much for voting for Obama. I'll name my tumor after you.
Hill link via @instapundit
Indoor and outdoor Halloween decor, including some deals good from Oct. 13 to 31, at Amazon -- though I think a skeleton hanging from your porch is lovely all year round.
Amazon's kids' Halloween store here.
Costumes and candy and stuff for all here.
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Hey, Cheesy Marriott, Pay Your Maids Instead Of Guilting Customers Into Doing It
Tips are the expected way waiters earn a living; as I explain in "Good Manners for Nice People Who Sometimes Say F*ck," waiters make a government-allowed lowered wage (typically $2.13/hr) because they make much of their income through customers' gratuities.
Not so for hotel maids. Some people leave money for the maid at a hotel but many don't. Also, as I note in my book, per the research of Cornell's Michael Lynn, although people believe they tip solely according to service, much of what motivates the amount people leave is a need for "social approval," including that of their server.
People will feel the pressure of the need for "social approval" when they are face to face with the worker and when they're in a public environment like the floor of a restaurant, where their behavior is visible.
This is not the case in terms of some tip interaction with the maid. Hotel guests often never see the person who cleans their room. This also diminishes any empathy they'd feel for that person.
The inspiration for this post?
Marriott, not exactly a cheap motel, is calling for customers to tip their cleaning staff. (Should we also be leaving tips for the guy who fixes the boiler and the lady who puts fresh flowers in the lobby?)
Claire Zillman writes at Fortune, "Marriott to hotel guests: Please pay our maids for us":
Starting this week, the hotel chain will encourage guests to tip their maids, becoming the latest company to ask consumers to directly shoulder an even larger portion of worker pay.
...On Monday, the hotel chain announced that it would start placing tip envelopes in its hotel rooms to encourage guests to "express their gratitude by leaving tips and notes of thanks" for hotel room attendants.
The initiative is part of "The Envelope Please," a project by A Woman's Nation, a nonprofit organization founded by former California first lady Maria Shriver that advocates for the recognition and respect of women at home and in the workplace. The idea behind the tip envelopes, which will appear in 160,000 guest rooms at participating Marriotts this week, is to give hotel guests the opportunity to acknowledge the "behind-the-scenes" work of housekeepers, which often goes unnoticed and unappreciated because room attendants are not as visible as front-of-the-house employees, according to a release.
...Karl Fischer, Marriott's chief human resources officer for the Americas, told Fortune that the hotel "takes seriously the need to pay [the housekeepers] competitively." The tip envelopes encourage "a voluntary action on behalf of customers...based on their experience as guests," he says.
But to a fatigued public living in an economic environment where corporate profits are at their highest level in at least 85 years and employee compensation is at its lowest level in 65 years, Marriott's well-intentioned tip envelopes seem like yet another case in which a corporation is relying on consumers to pay workers' wages instead of investing in employees directly.
...Nevertheless, if what Marriott really does want--as CEO Arne Sorenson said in Monday's release--to "shine a light on the excellent behind-the-scenes work our room attendants do," why not offer an across-the-board hourly wage increase, like Ikea and The Gap, instead of leaving it to the whims of hotel guests?
Socialists Succumb To "Capitalist Greed"
Love this -- the Freedom Socialist Party is pushing for the minimum wage to be $20 an hour...but just posted an ad for a web developer who'll be paid $13.
Zenon Evans posts at reason:
Although the average annual salary of a web developer in the U.S. is around $62,500, the Freedom Socialist Party only wants to pay $13 an hour, which would be $26,000 a year. Except that the party won't hire someone full-time, so their next web developer's total compensation won't even be that modest chunk of change.
CDC Blames Budget Cuts For Ebola Outbreak -- After Handing Out $25 Million In Bonuses
There's no accountability like government "accountability." If you're a government official, you just point the finger (from the hand you've just used to cash some big check made out to you).
That's how it worked for CDC bigwigs.
At Wash Times, Kelly Riddell writes:
Top public health officials have collected $25 million in bonuses since 2007, carving out extra pay for themselves in tight federal budgetary times while blaming a lack of money for the Obama administration's lackluster response to the Ebola outbreak.
U.S. taxpayers gave $6 billion in salaries and $25 million in bonuses to an elite corps of health care specialists at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention since 2007, according to data compiled by American Transparency's OpenTheBooks.com, an online portal aggregating 1.3 billion lines of federal, state and local spending. The agency's head count increased by 23 percent during that time, adding manpower and contributing to higher payrolls despite relatively flat funding.
From 2010 to 2013, all federal wages were frozen because of budgetary constraints, but CDC officials found a way to pay themselves through bonuses, overtime, within-grade increases and promotion pay raises.
There's frozen and there's frozen. Frozen for thee is different than frozen for people in charge at government agencies.
Donald Shriber, deputy director of policy and communication at the CDC's Center for Global Health, received the highest bonus in the six years analyzed -- $62,895 in 2011 -- netting $242,595 in take-home pay in a year when wages were supposed to be frozen.
Nice! Can I please get a wage freeze that pays me $63K?
Meanwhile, there's this from Oliver Darcy at The Blaze: "Texas Hospital Releases 'Low-Risk' Patient 'Reporting Ebola Symptoms' Because Person 'Wanted to Leave the Hospital.'"
1. If a retread party hack like Klain is the best Obama can do, then the Democrat talent pool is incredibly shallow. Naturally, though, Obama wouldn't think of going outside it.
2. The President considers Ebola a political/messaging problem, not a medical problem. Klain is an an insider process guy, not an expert in the field.
3. The fact that we need a "Czar" to cut across federal agency red-tape and make things happen expeditiously is an indictment of the federal agencies themselves, although no Democrat would ever dare to suggest such a thing. The choice signals that, as Ronald Reagan said, government itself is the problem, not the solution.
5. This is a government devoted to process, not results. Its most deeply held belief -- a by-product of its quasi-Marxist belief in the "labor theory of value" -- is that putting in hours and hitting "metrics" is the job itself, not whatever it ostensibly happens to be about; hey, even if you die, they get paid. In this sense, bureaucrats are similar to to the education majors who teach our children in the public schools, with no particular expertise in anything but theory. And the results speak for themselves.
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How Academic Feminism Screwed Up Heterosexual Relationships
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Feminism: It's Now The Victim's-Eye View
Check out this line from an Amanda Hess piece on Slate:
Men who enter female spaces without an explicit invitation may intrude on feminists seeking "a break from their everyday encounters with men."
Now apply that to those golf clubs that don't want women.
If you don't feel like you are some lesser human compared with men, you don't view every encounter through the lens of being victimized -- as feminists do.
So, for example, when some blowhard in a bar takes off about some area of science I know very well, or about dietary science, which I also know pretty well, I don't think of this as somebody "mansplaining" to me. It's not about their thinking I'm some twit who knows nothing. They have no idea what I do or don't know; they're just trying to sound smart, interesting, and worthy.
Accused Rapists Have Rights, Too
And we protect all of our rights by standing up for the rights of the accused.
For example, we have a presumption of innocence until proven guilty and the standards of evidence and due process that we do have -- or did have, before college campuses established kangaroo courts for accusations of sexual offenses -- come out of how we have been a society founded on the protection of civil liberties.
The more civil liberties are eroded, the more they can be further eroded.
In The New Republic, Judith Shulevitz clearly lays out what goes on now on college campuses in the wake of a sexual assault accusation, and the subtitle of her piece is important: "The victims deserve justice. The men deserve due process."
Yes, men are sometimes rape victims, too. But mostly the accusers on college campuses are women and the accused are men.
This August, Columbia University released a new policy for handling "gender-based" misconduct among students. Since April, universities around the country have been rewriting their guidelines after a White House task force urged them to do more to fight sexual assault. I was curious to know what a lawyer outside the university system would make of one of these codes. So I sent the document to Robin Steinberg, a public defender and a feminist.
A few hours later, Steinberg wrote back in alarm. She had read the document with colleagues at the Bronx legal-aid center she runs. They were horrified, she said--not because Columbia still hadn't sufficiently protected survivors of assault, as some critics charge, but because its procedures revealed a cavalier disregard for the civil rights of people accused of rape, assault, and other gender-based crimes. "We are never sending our boys to college," she wrote.
Columbia's safeguards for the accused are better than most. For instance, it allows both accuser and accused to have a lawyer at a hearing, and, if asked, will locate free counsel. By contrast, Harvard, which issued a new code in July, holds investigations but not hearings and does not offer to obtain independent legal assistance. But Steinberg, like most people, hadn't realized how far the rules governing sexual conduct on campus have strayed from any commonsense understanding of justice.
Most colleges that do allow lawyers into sexual-misconduct hearings or interrogations do not permit them to speak, though they may pass notes. Students on both sides must speak for themselves. This presents a serious problem for a young man charged with rape (and in the vast majority of campus cases, the accused are men). On one hand, if he doesn't defend himself, he'll be at a disadvantage. On the other, if he is also caught up in a criminal case, anything he says in a campus procedure can be used against him in court. Neither side may cross-examine witnesses to establish contradictions in their testimony. A school may withhold the identity of an accuser from the accused if she requests anonymity (though it may choose not to). Guilt or innocence hinges on a "preponderance" of evidence, a far lower standard than the "beyond a reasonable doubt" test that prevails in courtrooms. At Harvard, the Title IX enforcement office acts as cop, prosecutor, judge, and jury--and also hears the appeals. This conflation of possibly conflicting roles is "fundamentally not due process," says Janet Halley, a Harvard Law School professor whose areas of expertise include feminist legal theory and procedural law.
...What's happening at universities represents an often necessary effort to recategorize once-acceptable behaviors as unacceptable. But the government, via Title IX, is effectively acting on the notion popularized in the 1970s and '80s by Andrea Dworkin and Catharine MacKinnon that male domination is so pervasive that women need special protection from the rigors of the law. Men, as a class, have more power than women, but American law rests on the principle that individuals have rights even when accused of doing bad things. And American liberalism has long rejected the notion that those rights may be curtailed even for a noble cause. "We need to take into account our obligations to due process not because we are soft on rapists and other exploiters of women," says Halley, but because "the danger of holding an innocent person responsible is real."
The Criminalization Of Everything: Woman Serves Jail Time For Falling Behind On Yard Work
A woman in Tennessee was jailed for having a messy yard, reports WVLT. Yes, we've put a woman in a cage intended for people who are dangers to society because her trees and bushes around her house didn't look so nice.
Karen Holloway was cited by Lenoir City officials for not keeping up her yard.
She says this all started over the summer, when the city sent her a citation, claiming her yard wasn't properly maintained.
"With my husband going to school and working full time, me with my job, with one vehicle, we were trying our best," she said.
Holloway, who has two kids still at home, says she'll be the first to admit this yard needed some attention. But she feels the city has gone too far by imposing jail time.
"[The bushes and trees] were overgrown. But that's certainly not a criminal offense," she said.
She was shocked at a hearing last week, when Judge Terry Vann handed down a five-day jail sentence.
"It's not right," she said. "Why would you put me in jail with child molesters, and people who've done real crimes, because I haven't maintained my yard."
She says she was never read her rights nor told she could have a lawyer present.
A commenter, Max 1, points out:
In the city I grew up in I mowed and shoveled snow for about a dozen people in the neighborhood. Sure they paid me five bucks to do it, however it was more of a lesson about building relationships through doing things for other people. Correct, the community failed her. Being neighborly went out of fashion?
Another, Geri Harper, wrote:
This is how they treat the wife of a military veteran with children, both while this veteran served overseas and after he returned home? What are these people? Why didn't they donate time and help on this yard out of respect for this veteran?
The scary thing is, as a country that was about escaping tyranny and providing freedoms, we now find myriad reasons to take away citizens' freedoms. We all should be afraid -- and protesting.
"Mrs. Clooney" Causing Global Feminist Pantywadding
Feminism once again shows that it has become a form of authoritarianism.
Just check out the latest thing to have all the wymyn atwitter.
Yes, that's right -- "Amal Clooney's name change divides women on a key feminist issue," as Nicole Lyn Pesce reports in the New York Daily News.
And as Wochit posts at Yahoo [annoying autoplay video]:
George Clooney and Amal Alamuddin got married in late September, and everyone gushed. Amal Alamuddin changed her last name to Clooney on the website for her law firm Monday, and the town that is the Internet lit torches and tried to chase Mrs. Clooney through the streets, claiming she was "giving up a fundamental human right" and renouncing "her feminist credentials." One site called it silly, and said the human rights lawyer "is doing the world a disservice by demonstrating that even very powerful and successful women are still less important than the men they marry." Another chided the newlywed, saying she has reduced her status from person to "actor's wife," and even went so far as to say "you have lost your marbles."
If ever there were a trophy husband (and I mean that in the big game sense), it would be George Clooney.
Quite frankly, when you bag one of the biggest animals on the hunt, it seems only natural to want to mount the antlers on your hood.
Or...maybe you just think it's nice to signal "My life has changed" by going in for an old tradition and taking your husband's name. This is especially appealing if your name used to be Ahmadinejad...or...something, and your husband has a nice, easy, roll-off-the-tongue name like Clooney.
But, Noooooooo!...this absolutely cannot be, according to the dictates of the fundamentalists populating feminism. And, in case you were wondering, that's because feminism isn't about women having choices -- it's about feminists bullying women into making the choices feminists think they should.
And, back to Mrs. (now) Clooney, let's get real about what real power is -- as opposed to the weakness hidden by angry bluster from feminists.
Ultimately, when you're a world-renowned human rights lawyer, maybe, just maybe, you can feel powerful and even badass -- even if you tape the name of the man you married over the name you grew up with.
Just Hours Old, And If You Were Born in Connecticut, You're Already $28K In Debt
That's how pension expert Adrian Moore put it on Twitter (@reasonpolicy). He linked to this piece at Reason Foundation about pension liabilities, reported by Truong Bui:
The unfunded gap has expanded since 2002, as shown in "Chart 1" of the study. The funded status saw a miniscule rise in 2008, but then it deteriorated afterwards. That improvement was largely the result of the state government's issuance of $2 billion in General Obligation Bonds (GO) for the Teachers' Retirement System (TRS) to make up for the funding shortfall. Essentially, the state borrowed money to fund the pension, reflecting an attempt to engage in "risk arbitrage": putting the borrowed money in high-yield investments that earn a higher return than the interest of the bond. The implied logic is that the use of GOs would profit the pension without imposing any extra cost on the state. That logic is specious, as evidenced by the worsening funded status after 2008. What the state of Connecticut did was not arbitrage, but gambling with money that posed considerable risks. As the authors of the study put it, "this is the equivalent of homeowners taking a second mortgage on their houses to invest in the stock market in the hope that the investments pay more than the cost of the mortgage."
If Connecticut's pension funding is bad enough, its Other Post-Employment Benefits (OPEB) system, which includes healthcare and life insurance obligations, is in a direr state. The OPEB funded ratio in 2013 was 0.6 percent. The state has set virtually zero assets ($144 million) to cover $22.7 billion in OPEB obligations (see "Chart 2" below). Add that to the previous estimate of the pension debt and the state owes almost $100 billion in unfunded pension and benefit liabilities, which calculates out to be $27,668 of debt for every man, woman, and child in Connecticut.
You were just born, kid? Well, don't just lie there in the ICU! Get a job!
Boohoo, Pakistan Portrayed On TV As Sort Of Place Where They, Oh, Stone Women -- Which, In Real Life, They Actually Do
A Pakistani woman writes to complain about the portrayal of Pakistan on "Homeland," the Showtime show starring Clare Danes as a CIA agent dealing with Muslim terrorism.
Gregg and I have been complaining, too, about the show lately -- that the recent episodes have been slow as hell and focused on this boring baby angle.
But novelist Bina Shah writes in The New York Times:
I'm a writer of fiction, so I know about imagined worlds. You look not for complete truthfulness, but for verisimilitude -- the "appearance of being true" -- so it can give your art authenticity, credibility, believability. And we in Pakistan long to be seen with a vision that at least approaches the truth.
Pakistan has long been said to have an image problem, a kind way to say that the world sees us one-dimensionally -- as a country of terrorists and extremists, conservatives who enslave women and stone them to death, and tricky scoundrels who hate Americans and lie pathologically to our supposed allies. In Pakistan, we've long attributed the ubiquity of these images to what we believe is biased journalism, originating among mainstream American journalists who care little for depth and accuracy. By the time these tropes filter down into popular culture, and have morphed into the imaginings of showbiz writers, we've gone from an image problem to the realm of Jungian archetypes and haunting traumatized psyches.
Whenever a Western movie contains a connection to Pakistan, we watch it in a sadomasochistic way, eager and nervous to see how the West observes us. We look to see if we come across to you as monsters, and then to see what our new, monstrous face looks like. Again and again, we see a refracted, distorted image of our homeland staring back at us. We know we have monsters among us, but this isn't what we look like to ourselves.
Guess what: Nobody does TV shows about a mom taking her kids to school.
And you should be a little more focused on the monsters among you -- and how disgustingly commonplace stonings of women are, along with all the other human rights abuses that are part and parcel of Islam.
Okay, TV sometimes fails on what's exactly real:
Still, the season's first hour, in which Carrie also goes to Islamabad, offers up a hundred little clues that tell me this isn't the country where I grew up, or live. When a tribal boy examines the dead in his village, I hear everyone speaking Urdu, not the region's Pashto. Protesters gather across from the American Embassy in Islamabad, when in reality the embassy is hidden inside a diplomatic enclave to which public access is extremely limited. I find out later that the season was filmed in Cape Town, South Africa, with its Indian Muslim community standing in for Pakistanis.
What you should write a New York Times op-ed on is something important, like why, while the Catholic Church is talking about being nicer to gays and lesbians, so many Muslims are behaving like it's the Dark Ages and why reform of Islam seems impossible.
The inability for reform in Islam is due to how the Quran is said to be the unquestionable word of Allah, and how looting, raping sociopath Mohammed's actions are to be emulated by Muslims. (As I noted the other day, Mohammed ordered the beheading of hundreds of Jewish men at Banu Qurayza...Mohammed is to be emulated...and we wonder why we see Muslims on the news beheading aid workers?)
And where are her op-eds lamenting the stonings? Like this one, where a pregnant woman was stoned to death -- a most horrible way to die. (This comes out of Islam, which says that women are men's possessions, and men are in charge of them [see summary at bottom].)
From the AP, "Pakistan stoning death: Father of slain pregnant woman among 5 charged":
The case has brought international attention to violence against women in Muslim-majority Pakistan, where hundreds of women are killed by relatives each year in so-called "honour killings" carried out by husbands or relatives as a punishment for alleged adultery or other illicit sexual behaviour.
Yeah, but they wore the wrong hats on "Homeland"!
Because So Many People Are Under The Impression That A Candy Bar Is Made Of Kale
There's no area of our lives that the Obama administration will leave un-meddled.
Obamacare regulations mandate that vending machines must have the calorie counts on them. Not just on the products, which is already mandated. As John Dunham writes at REGonomics:
According to the law, like restaurants, vending machine operators must provide a sign in close proximity to each article of food or the selection button that includes a clear and conspicuous statement disclosing the number of calories contained in the article. In other words, vending machine operating companies must post the calorie content of each item in the machine somewhere near the selections themselves. They must do this even though the calorie content is already included on the product nutrition label. The FDA suggested that the implementation cost of the legislation for vending machine operators would be $25.8 million with a recurring annual cost of about $24 million. Notwithstanding the fact that most people purchasing from vending machines are likely buying soft drinks, candy, salty snacks or something other thin quinoa or kale, and probably don't care much about calorie counts, over a 5-year period, this rule will cost consumers well over $120 million dollars.
...If the regulations cost what FDA suggests - and regulatory impact analysis figures are always low by a huge amount - the cost would appear to be small, just under 0.13 percent. But this is the cost to the operator. When this is marked up using very conservative retail margins, the cost of the regulation to the consumer would be about 0.16 percent. So the cost to consumers over 5-years would be more like $144 million.
On top of this, consumers receive virtually nothing for their $144 million in higher overall costs. The information on the required sign is already available on the products themselves, so the regulation is repetitive. The effect of the information on consumer behavior is also murky. While activists like Mayor Bloomberg love regulations like calorie counts on vending machines, consumers really don't get much value from them. Research on whether menu labeling has an impact on nutrition suggests that while people generally underestimate the calorie count on food purchased at restaurants, but they react by increasing calorie intakes once they find out. (United States Department of Agriculture's Economic Research Service). In New York, consumers reacted by purchasing more calories after menu labeling went into effect.
This is probably why the FDA was unable to quantify any benefits to the proposed rule in its own Regulatory Impact Analysis. Even so, the law is now the law, and since it was passed without ever being read, we are now finding out that silly provisions, like calorie counts on vending machines, are part of Obamacare.
The Medical Malpractice Industry Actually Protects Consumers
A Cato post by Shirley Svorny as a preamble to a paper posted (and free) at the link:
Supporters of capping court awards for medical malpractice argue that caps will make health care more affordable. It may not be that simple. First, caps on awards may result in some patients not receiving adequate compensation for injuries they suffer as a result of physician negligence. Second, because caps limit physician liability, they can also mute incentives for physicians to reduce the risk of negligent injuries. Supporters of caps counter that this deterrent function of medical malpractice liability is not working anyway--that awards do not track actual damages, and medical malpractice insurance carriers do not translate the threat of liability into incentives that reward high-quality care or penalize errant physicians.
This paper reviews an existing body of work that shows that medical malpractice awards do track actual damages. Furthermore, this paper provides evidence that medical malpractice insurance carriers use various tools to reduce the risk of patient injury, including experience rating of physicians' malpractice premiums. High-risk physicians face higher malpractice insurance premiums than their less-risky peers. In addition, carriers offer other incentives for physicians to reduce the risk of negligent care: they disseminate information to guide riskmanagement efforts, oversee high-risk practitioners, and monitor providers who offer new procedures where experience is not sufficient to assess risk. On rare occasions, carriers will even deny coverage, which cuts the physician off from an affiliation with most hospitals and health maintenance organizations, and precludes practice entirely in some states.
If the medical malpractice liability insurance industry does indeed protect consumers, then policies that reduce liability or shield physicians from oversight by carriers may harm consumers. In particular, caps on damages would reduce physicians' and carriers' incentives to keep track of and reduce practice risk. Laws that shield government- employed physicians from malpractice liability eliminate insurance company oversight of physicians working for government agencies. State-run insurance pools that insure risky practitioners at subsidized prices protect substandard physicians from the discipline that medical malpractice insurers otherwise would impose.