So I might as well continue blogging.
•The HPV vaccine works. The same blog post also reveals that most people are happier with their sex lives when they’re getting more sex than other people.
•Conservative bloggers seethe with outrage over Benghazi and wonder why Obama isn’t being tried for treason yet.
•But leave it to Limbaugh to show why he leaves other conservative extremists in the dust. His response to the rescue of three captive girls in Cleveland was to reference a Hawaii 5-0 episode about someone kidnapping children, using them to claim welfare benefits and then killing them when they turned 18. And doing his best to link them in some incomprehensible fashion (while admitting he knows jack about the Cleveland case) although carefully saying he is, of course, not saying that this was what happened in Cleveland … As Northier Than Thou notes at the link, it’s fine job of smoke-and-mirrors.
•Sometimes the arc of the universe does tend toward justice: Guatemalan former dictator Rios Mott has been found guilty of genocide.
•Much as I disagree with Sen. John McCain on many things, pushing to make it easier to offer a la carte cable channels (you only buy channels you want to watch instead of packages) sounds great (with the caveat I haven’t read the bill so it may have all kinds of problems). And I totally agree that if the networks give up over-the-air broadcasting (to avoid Aero, a company that allows you to pick up over-the-air broadcasts on the Internet) they should lose their chunk of broadcasting spectrum, as the bill provides.
•Some states are making it harder to vote. Colorado is working to make it easier.
•Slacktivist links to a recent couple of columns about Beyonce’s SuperBowl performance. One argues rather bizarrely that Beyoncé wearing skimpy clothes on stage and generally not conducting herself like a proper lady is what leads to sex trafficking. Amanda Marcotte explains that it doesn’t. And this is not he says/she says, Marcotte has the clear win here (“The only thing that stops sexual abuse is to stop men from developing the belief that they’re entitled to control women’s bodies”). Slacktivist goes on to discuss how obsessions with female purity promote this belief: if women are only worthwhile when pure, then any tarnishing of that purity is irreversible and destructive, and they (in the eyes of this attitude) are worthless. As Elizabeth Smart said, there was no point in escaping her captor—by the abstinence ed she’d received, she was nothing but a piece of used chewing gum, too filthy for anyone to want.
•Soraya Chemaly points out how often it’s the rape victim who becomes the culprit and the rapists whose reputations have to be protected. Familiar material, but well said, and I agree with her conclusion: “If boys don’t want to risk penalties then they shouldn’t sexually assault people.”
•Last year some of the major mortgage companies negotiated a settlement over alleged unethical/illegal mortgage practices. New York’s attorney general says some of the banks promptly turned around and cheated on the deal.
•Colorado is trying to figure out the nuts-and-bolts of pot legalization. How much pot can you put in a cookie? Should pot magazines be kept out of kids’ reach, like Penthouse?
•A Christian post on the problems of believing you’re persecuted when it isn’t true (something I’ve blogged about before).
•The WaPo suggests that as liberals believe government should help boost the economy, and military spending boosts the economy, therefore liberals can’t seriously fight to cut defense spending! At the link, FAIR disagrees.
Category Archives: Undead sexist cliches
So I might as well continue blogging.
Temporarily off yesterday for Internet issues. And running wildly behind due to staying out late with the writing group yesterday. Totally worth it, of course, but if time had permitted I’d have done most of this morning’s work Monday night.
Anyway, down to links:
•Earlier this week I linked to Niall Ferguson asserting John Maynard Keynes’ economic theories were all warped because Keynes was gay. Here’s a detailed look explaining that Keynes did care about the long-term—he just didn’t think “Well this will work out in 100 years” was an excuse for not intervening in the present (a radical view at one time—the idea the Great Depression was purging the economy of deadwood was very popular back in the day).
I’m amused that arguments in this vein (linked to at the previous post) assert that if Keynes was a parent, he’d naturally have put the Big Picture forward. Because you know, fathers always put their families first. Never neglect their kids. Never cheat on their wives (I’ve previously discussed the assumption that becoming a father automatically elevates you to a higher plane of understanding).
•If chemical plants are too dangerous to divulge public information about them (to discourage terrorism) why are they allowed near schools and homes?
•Is the government keeping track of all American telephone calls? As Glenn Greenwald notes at the link, massive phonetapping has been documented for some time, but it’s still worth remembering it.
•LGM says the missile-defense program didn’t push the Soviets toward peace with the US.
•As I mentioned previously, some conservatives think having a “conversation” about homosexuality means they can condemn gays but shouldn’t get criticized. Roy Edroso looks at conservatives grumbling, as usual, that critics of anti-gays are trying to destroy/repress/silence Christianity! Freedom is on their side! (Related blog post here). On his blog, Edroso looks at Jonah Goldberg’s equally vapid ruminations on the subject.
•In the same spirit of self-righteous indignation, Rand Paul explains away the criticism his speech at Howard University (which discussed how Repubs are the real champions of black rights) as “I think some think a white person is not allowed to talk about black history … which I think is unfair.” At the link, Ta-Nehisi Coates points out white people have been talking about black history for years and nobody’s suppressing them.
•Violence in Iraq has spiked up again. Which makes Andrew Sullivan’s warnings against intervening in Syria that much more pertinent (as Digby notes, it’s not even clear if the Syrian government or the rebels is using chemical warfare). As he says, a democratic, open Syrian regime would be great, but nobody knows how to get there from here. And of course (though he doesn’t say this), if America did intervene there’s no guarantee we’d do it to create a democratic regime. As our past policies have shown, given a choice between a free country that disrespects us and a dictator who kisses our ass (Saddam Hussein pre-the first Gulf War, for example), we go with the tyrant. Maher Arar makes the same point in a thoughtful overview of the conflict. Glenn Greenwald doubts we’d support Syria making a pre-emptive strike on Israel the way we do Israel’s attack on Syria (after all, we and our allies are superior).
•The mayor of Charlotte (I’m not sure which city of that name) proclaimed a Day of Reason alongside the recent Day of Prayer. Conservatives freak out and explain this is bad, bad, bad because reason is bad, bad, bad and leads to things like the Holocaust. It’s a common argument, as Edroso discusses. Of course that’s understandable, as reason is not on their side, but it’s still depressing—I guess after rolling us back to the 19th century, they’ll move us back to the medieval era.
And speaking of clinging to the past, Georgia’s governor refuses to endorse an interracial prom.
•Anti-abortion activists continue calling for the deaths of abortion providers. And as I’ve noted many times, they’re also eager to ban birth control, because it’s like a “pesticide” for babies (but here’s some good judicial news on that topic). And keep teens ignorant about sex.
Slacktivist reminds us that targeting a sports event is nothing new: Anti-abortion bomber Eric Rudolph targeted the Olympics 17 years ago.
It’s a good reminder. There’s an annoying tendency to screen out all the terrorism that took place in this country pre-9/11: Labor and management targeting each other, the KKK, the radical left and segregationist right in the 1960s, black militants, Puerto Rican separatists, right-to-life killers … Yet by the early 1990s, I kept reading articles and columns that sounded if terrorism was something we’d never experienced. Even in the late nineties (post-Oklahoma City, post-Rudolph) I’d see articles written by supposed terrorism experts pondering with great seriousness what would happen if terrorism ever came to America’s shores. Guys (or women) it never left.
Also, this quote from Bruce Schneier:”Terrorism is a crime against the mind. What happened in Boston, horrific as it is, is theater to make you scared. That’s the point.”
And sometimes it works. Digby quotes Chris Hayes, who sees the same willingness to throw over the Constitution in some of the commentary. Digby also isn’t impressed by a reporter complaining how awful it is that they not only don’t have a suspect, they don’t know what kind of suspect: “We’re standing on the verge of a very important national conversation about something, and we have no idea what it is.” As Digby points out, you can do great reporting on a disaster without worrying about how the Big Picture is going to be spun.
The New Yorker, meanwhile, looks at how a Saudi man running from the blast was tackled because apparently he looked so much more suspicious than anyone else running and yelling. And the right-wing enthusiastically piled on with the He Must Have Done Somethings.
•Echidne of the Snakes has often suggested that to some rightwingers women are just aquariums—unimportant containers for the all-important fetus. And here we have a conservative Republican, NH State Rep. Peter Hansen who refers to men protecting “children and vaginas” (he does refer to “women and mothers” later in his letters).
•Not that it’s news but yes, the US did practice torture under George W. Bush.
A couple of years back, I wrote about why I didn’t think Marvel’s Civil War made any legal sense. Law and the Multiverse weighs in on the legal flaws here, here and here. As professional attorneys, the bloggers spot a lot of problems I didn’t, including the lack of an appeal process, the lack of a believable deadline and wild inconsistencies (did the law authorize SHIELD drafting everyone who registers? Or was that optional?). Their conclusion was that nobody sat down and worked out the fine points before going forward.
•Corporations at work: Boeing blocks a bill regulating drone use, and tax-prep companies push to block the IRS from ever offering a no-return e-filing service. On the plus side, the departing American Airlines CEO won’t get the $20 million payout he was hoping for.
•Not so positive, the Republican push to get us back to the pre-New Deal era continues with a bill to end the 40-hour week—oh, sorry, a bill that would let workers rack up unpaid overtime, then take it off later. Which is supposedly giving them “flexibility” except they can’t just take it—it’s only when the employer says. Having experienced a set-up like this, I agree with Echidne’s conclusions at the link, this will not work out well for workers.
•Putting cops in schools has the effect of increasing the number of kids getting arrested for criminal offenses. Who would have imagined cops would approach problems that way?
•Oklahoma debates barring the terrible threat of imposing shari’a law on its citizens. An anti-Muslim activist explains the Muslim groups opposing the law are all terrorist front groups. Not for the first time, the right-wing’s anti-Islam contingent resembles the Cold War extremists (no surprise, really. As I point out in Screen Enemies of the American Way, this kind of thing follows predictable patterns).
•You may have heard conservatives bemoaning that the Evil Liberal Media and Evil Abortion Movement ignored the bloody deaths reported at the Gosnell Clinic in Pennsylvania. LGM links to several stories going back anywhere from a month to two years reporting the case—all from liberal websites (several of whom suggest the lesson isn’t that abortion should be banned but that we need to make it easier for good clinics to operate).
•And meanwhile, the Republicans continue their commitment to ending abortion.
•Rand Paul’s speech to black college students may have flopped, but it pleased right-wing pundits and bloggers.
•The potential for abuse of Facebook’s data-gathering (and sharing).
•Eden Foods is joining the fight against mandatory contraceptive-coverage. LGM looks at the dubious Free Exercise of Religion arguments involved. Most notable point is that free exercise rights aren’t a blanket shield against legal duty if the government has a compelling reason to require compliance with the law (I’d agree with LGM that requiring insurers cover the cost of birth control is not an excessive burden and is a reasonable requirement—that women get the drugs they need). Plus as one judge pointed out, corporations are not their owners—the purpose of creating a corporation is to set up a separate legal entity—so the owners’ beliefs aren’t automatically binding.
Some thoughts of mine on the birth control debate here, and in this And column.
•Mexico develops peaceful uses for drones. Glenn Greenwald points out that in our own non-peaceful war, we often target people when we’re not even sure who they are (basically they just look suspicious).
It didn’t get the publicity Abu Ghraib did, but Camp Nama in Iraq was also the site of torture. And as with Abu Ghraib, the authority to torture came from higher up.
•Another $165 million settlement from Bank of America over mortgage investments. Unfortunately, homeowners who went through or tried to avoid foreclosure in the past few years (not just BoA customers I note) and suffered because of bank errors (including foreclosure with no grounds, losing documents or misinformation) may get as little as $400, regardless of what they lost.
This is not that radical a surprise, actually. One of the problems that keeps cropping up in accounts of financial fraud and prosecution is that convicting anyone is difficult: the complexity of the case, the difficulty of pinning guilt on individuals. So prosecutors often decide to settle instead, and the company gets a picayune fine in comparison to its dirty profits. It sounds like the same dynamic is at work here.
•Speaking of injustice, the USAF’s Lt. General Franklin overruled a jury verdict to free a convicted military wife abuser. No reason given—military law says he doesn’t need to give one. And it can’t be appealed.
•A teacher describes her teenage students’ puzzlement at the Steubenville case—if the victim was unconscious, she couldn’t have said no, so why is it rape?
•In Idaho, parents complains because a teacher said vagina in biology class.
•Slacktivist, which provided the above examples, has more grim sexism links.
•The kind of welfare I wish conservatives would complain about: former baseball player Curt Schilling, who criticizes government for taking away his money to give to other people, took a $75 million loan from Rhode Island for his new company. The company ran out of money so he asked for more state help, but insists he’s not a welfare case.
Which as many people have pointed out, is typical for the anti-welfare conservatives. What other people get is welfare. What they get is only what they deserve or need and they’re dynamic job-creating machines so it’s all good, right?
•China decides against a drone strike outside its borders because of international law issues. The NYT, however, still thinks China taking action anywhere outside it’s borders is a threat to the American Empire—er, sorry, USA.
•Rick Perry doesn’t need evidence to know Mexicans are behind a recent killing.
•Slacktivist again, reminding us that taking antidepressants is not anti-God—a conclusion some Christians disagree with.
•I link to this Slacktivist post purely for its quote from Bioware: ” Privilege always lies with the majority. They’re so used to being catered to that they see the lack of catering as an imbalance. They don’t see anything wrong with having things set up to suit them, what’s everyone’s fuss all about? That’s the way it should be, and everyone else should be used to not getting what they want.”
•A district court overrules Obama’s decision that teenagers can’t have OTC access to Plan B (the FDA approved it, the White House said no anyway).
Following up on this morning’s post:
•Landsburg asserts that of course he knows that rape usually has horrible consequences and that the post was clearly about other peoples’ reactions to someone raped—why should that be more important in law than someone’s reactions to other people’s porn? But the post was also quite clear that the victim’s psychic harm was also up for grabs (why did it matter more than the pleasure someone else got from rape?). He also asserts he wasn’t really arguing, just trying to figure things out for himself, which is not good as an excuse either—he really has trouble figuring out why anger over rape is more serious than anger over what other people read?
I’ll explain it simply: I’m not upset about rape because it infringes on my religious beliefs, but because it’s a serious act with harm and there’s no circumstances in the real world where it’s not. Even if we go by his “she never knows about it” hypothetical, rape still infringes on the rape victim’s rights to control her body and decide who she sleeps with. I believe those rights are basic and axiomatic, not something that has to be justified. They’re fundamental principles. If he wants to explain that they’re not, he’s got to come up with an argument why they shouldn’t be so—and he doesn’t. As noted at the previous post, he simply equates my being distressed over rape to someone being upset stores are open on Sundays.
If, as he says, he was just tossing out hypotheticals (and I’ve seen comments online making the same argument) it was a piss-poor thought experiment. When someone raises property rights as a grounds for harm he blithely asserts that’s one of the things that’s not clearly established. Which he doesn’t say in the initial argument. And if he’s seriously asserting the rapists have an actual claim on her body as long as she’s not awake, that’s a sufficiently counter-intuitive statement (counter-intuitive? Batshit stupid is closer to the mark) he needs to offer some arguments to justify it.
And I don’t trust people who insist they’re just tossing out ideas. As has been observed about people who argue “blacks are stupid” should be approached as a serious, rational, not-bigoted-at-all scientific theory, it’s not usually abstract debate. Black inferiority (and women’s) has been linked to countless rationalizations for why it’s okay to Keep The Coloreds Down, for all some people claim that of course, they’re just looking at the science, nope, no bigotry here.
Landsburg’s selection of corresponding examples, as I noted in the first post, gives me that reactions. Why compare rape to someone who sees other people violate his religious beliefs rather than say, someone breaking into your house for a party? Or borrowing your car without permission but filling it up so there’s no loss of gas or harm to you (hey, maybe they check the tires and change the oil, so you’re good)? Those are of course clear violations of property rights—I think his choice of comparisons is more telling than he claims it is.
Keep in mind, Landsburg also argues that women calling for contraceptive insurance coverage are just trying to get someone else to pay for their sex, so I can see a sexist trend here (my response to that general theory here)
Echidne posts a link to a post by Steven Landsburg, a professor who looks at the Steubenville case and asks why rape should be illegal if the victim is unconscious. Assuming there’s no injury—no pregnancy, no physical damage, no STDs—the damage is only emotional. He specifically equates it to people who object to someone else viewing pornography—there’s no physical harm to the would-be censor, so what grounds do they have to make a fuss: “why shouldn’t the rest of the world (or more specifically my attackers) be allowed to reap the benefits? And if the thought of those benefits makes me shudder, why should my shuddering be accorded any more public policy weight.”
If you think the victim has the right to decide what’s done with her own body, guess again—the idea you have a property right in your body is what’s at issue: “To appeal to a “respect for property rights” solves nothing, since in each case the entire dispute is about what the property rights should be in the first place.” I imagine he’s serious about this: He compares rape to situations in which people try to ban activities that don’t involve their property interests rather than, say, someone holding a party in your house when you’re not there but not causing any damage (so presumably that would be a more clear-cut case than a woman’s right to her body)
I swear to god, even after years of reading rape apologist bullshit, I wouldn’t have expected something this bad. An argument whether rape is acceptable based on cost-benefit analysis is so creepy I’d have dismissed it as a strawman if I hadn’t read the post. As one of the commenters points out, the logical extension of Landbergh’s rape apologist post is that any rape should be evaluated based on cost-benefit standards: Did the attacker suffer worse harm than the benefit the rapists gained?
Just in case anyone’s in doubt, here’s my take: Yes, we do have a right to our own bodies. That includes who we sleep with. And that right is inviolate (obviously not in practice): Someone using your body without your consent or against your consent (i.e., someone you’ve specifically refused to sleep with) is in the wrong, regardless of whether you know about it or not. And decent people actually realize this—they don’t have to figure out the cost-benefit element in rape (Landsburg reminds me of the Christian conservatives who insist that if they didn’t read in the Bible that killing was wrong, they’d never figure it out for themselves).
Landsburg’s choice of the Steubenville case adds creepy on top of creepy. Here was a case where the victim was publicly humiliated by passing around videos of the rape (as Yes Means Yes, says, that was the point), but he’s arguing that she wasn’t really hurt—or more precisely, that her emotional pain isn’t really anyone’s problem but hers (somehow I bet that if anyone ever sodomizes him while he’s passed out, he’ll find perfectly valid arguments that he has been harmed so his case is completely different).
While Landsburg apparently thinks all emotional pain is the same, I’d disagree. The pain of knowing you’ve been assaulted is a different category from disapproving of other people’s behavior (again, most mentally healthy people know this). Arguably if I threaten someone with a gun and don’t use it, it’s only psychic pain but again, different.
And more generally, what are the chances of actually raping someone without causing them harm? Either bragging about it (which does have consequences for the victim), physical damage, etc.? So he’d be talking a fairly narrow range of rapes—as several people said in the comments, it would be worth banning these supposedly harmless rapes just to make it harder to carry out the ones even Landsburg admits are harmful.
Landsburg may think he’s being brilliant in raising challenging, contrarian questions. I … don’t.
Following up on the previous post, I wanted to say something more general about the “people need to get married” cries circulating so much. We’ve heard it from Brooks and McArdle; sociologist Charles Murray has been making the same argument for years. Marriage is the key to success. Married people do better financially. Strong families are what’s needed, not government intervention.
I think that last part is the important one. Conservatives have been arguing for at least 20 years that the key to success is the family: If families are strong, society is strong and gets along fine without Big Government. If families don’t do it right (not getting married, not staying married, etc.) then society falls apart and we need welfare programs. One of the rationales for 1990s welfare reform was that by cutting the federal money flow, it would force women to get married and stay married (instead, ironically, having to get a job convinced many poor women that they could support their kids without a man, and they preferred it that way).
In short, it’s another way of saying that if people need government help, it’s their own fault. They should have had stronger families. They should have raised their kids better and taught them better morals. Brooks has specifically argued that trying to fix the economy is pointless because the real problem is promiscuity and immorality among the poor. Although his insistence on slashing welfare as the greatest challenge of our time doesn’t stop him urging the government to provide welfare payments to poor men to make them more marriageable.
It’s a two-fer: On the one hand, the Marriage Is the Answer crowd gets to dismiss any need for Social Security, WIC or any other federal or state program. Instead, they divert it into social control (everybody must get married! If you don’t get married, you suck!), focused on the working class, which is invariably compatible with their idea of limited government.
I remain unimpressed.
Marriage is sure getting conservatives excited lately.
On the one hand, we have Megan McArdle insisting that gay marriage is going to kill off the sexual revolution, because once gay people get tied up in wedding vows, they’ll hate people who have promiscuous sex just as much as she does. On the other, insistence that getting married and staying married is what makes rich people richer than poor people.
Since I made those last two posts, we’ve had more:
•First (not a direct link) we have Princeton grad Susan Patton, who wrote a letter to the school magazine urging female Princetonian students to get married while they’re in college. The pool of available men will never be higher, and if the women wait, they’ll be out among men who aren’t as smart as they are—and they’ll never, ever want to date a man who’s not their mental equal. Or younger than them, which is why they have to move fast: Every year, another senior class full of guys moves out and younger men move in.
Patton subsequently explained that young women get lots of career advice, but no advice on the personal side of life, which is kind of funny. It implies Patton has never in her life seen a woman’s magazine or any of the five bazillion dating books on the stand. And of course, giving “life advice” doesn’t excuse giving bad life advice (critiques here and here if anyone wants more).
I’d say this was a generational thing (Patton’s around my age) but I can’t think of many women my age who graduated an A-list college and had these views. This is more like some of our mothers—like my med-school bound friend whose mother still wanted her to marry a doctor (back in the day, this was considered a very desirable match). Seriously, women going to Princeton are probably career oriented and ambitious—this makes it sound like their primary goal should be a “mrs” degree, as it used to be called.
And then we have Megan McArdle again, who despite marrying at 37, insists you should marry “as early as possible but no earlier” (WTF?) Because the longer you wait, the harder it is to find someone, and if you don’t want to settle, well, you have to accept the risk of dying alone (McArdle, apparently, is a special case). I don’t think I’ve seen this much emphasis on the danger of a Man Shortage since Newsweek’s “single women in their 30s are more likely to die from terrorism than get married” flap.
•Meanwhile, David Brooks embraces the “gay marriage is the end of sexual freedom” in what he fondly imagines is a witty, ironic column arguing that in fighting for the right to marry, gays are giving up their sexual freedom!
Matt Taibbi dissects Brooks very well at the link, so I’ll just make a couple of extra points. First, this shows the recurring right-wing delusion that supporting the rights of gays isn’t about equality or love, it’s about liberals believing that if it feels good, do it! Which it doesn’t: There’s a long list of things you shouldn’t do even if it does feel good (cheat on your partner, trade promotions for sex, have sex with small children, have sex with someone too drunk to know what they’re doing, etc.), and I apply those standards to gays and straights (and bi’s and asexuals alike). Supporting the rights of gays isn’t about libertinage, it’s about fairness (not that I object to libertinage between consenting adults, but you get the point).
Second, this conforms to Brooks’ repeated columns that the real moral problem is among the common rabble having too much sex and children out of wedlock (use my search feature for past takes on Brooks if you want samples). When he writes “People are much more at liberty these days to follow their desires, unhampered by social convention, religious and ethnic traditions and legal restraints.” he’s talking about sex, not about the massive fraud and bad decisions by banks and Wall Street after they got deregulated.
More in part two.
Digby links to a pundit (Peter Baklinski) on a right-to-life website explaining that if you’re having sex while on birth control, your love is “conditional”: You’re not willing to embrace your partner completely, including their fertility! You’re (gasp!) using them for sexual pleasure, not respecting them, which “poisons love between a husband and wife since nobody ever wants to be loved only conditionally.”
This strikes me as a variation of something I’ve blogged about before, the assumption that what’s true for Pundit X (or Religious Leader X or Politician X) is true for everyone. Rick Santorum thinks contraception is unnatural and wrong, therefore it’s objectively unnatural and wrong. Baklinski looks at birth control and recoils so he assumes it’s toxic to everyone.
That being said, his argument is well, bullshit. Baklinski references Catholics, who are allowed to use the rhythm method to avoid pregnancy—why isn’t that objectionable? It’s acceptable to the Catholic Church because it doesn’t involve artificial means, but using Baklinski’s logic, it’s just as bad. For that matter if we’re concerned about nature, preaching abstinence is preaching something unnatural, as I mention here.
And if “conditional” is so awful, what if your spouse likes making love in public places? Or doggy style? Or oral sex? Aren’t those setting conditions (“I see—so you love me, but not enough to do it behind this curtain during the big party?”). Possibly Baklinski just figures they don’t count (after all, they deviate from his concept of “normal”) but by his logic “I want to make love to you but only in private” is just as toxic as “I want to make love to you but only if you can’t conceive.”
And the usual problem, people who are too old/sick/sterile to conceive—why are they any different?
But as Digby says, the idea that sex with contraception is some kind of perverted filthy act does explain why some people are so determined to ban it.
•Cutting staff at Wal-Mart is hurting sales. But adding enough staff to fix the problem would cost almost a half-billion, which would apparently be too big a cut in Wal-Mart’s $17 billion in annual profits.
This is fairly typical (I’ll note that Wal-Mart disputes the story). A lot of companies look on staff as something to cut (at least below the management level), an inconvenient cost rather than an asset. Several years back, Circuit City announced it was going to cut costs by firing all its most experienced, best paid employees. Result: They have nobody who knows enough to help customers and sales tank (and slashing staff did not miraculously translate into higher stock prices, so it was a lose-lose). Freedom News, for which I used to work, was quite happy cutting staff and pay, but not for upper management.
•Mark Sanford (SC Repub) says his sex scandal of a few years back has given him greater empathy for people in sex scandals: “I used to open the paper and think, How did this person do that? Now it’s all, But by the grace of God go I.” As someone commenting in alicublog pointed out recently, that sounds like a guy who has nevr set a foot wrong. He did “go” that way, and the grace of God didn’t stop him.
•I’ve linked before to a recent article discussing the old chestnut that women are all giving up on jobs to get married. The women in the article say their views were distorted. One interviewee, for instance, says the article referred to her “maternal ambition” to have kids, when in reality she got pregnant when she had no intention of having kids. Oh, and here’s a parody of the original article.