Thursday, February 23, 2006

South Dakota Senate Passes Abortion Ban

In a move calculated to prompt a legal challenge by pro-choice advocates, the South Dakota state senate passed an abortion ban which does not allow exceptions in cases of rape or incest. Supporters of the ban are claiming that an anonymous donor has pledged $1 million to defray costs of defending the law in court.
Optimistic about the recent changes on the United States Supreme Court, some abortion opponents say they have new hope that a court fight over a ban here could lead to the overturning of Roe v. Wade, the 1973 decision that made abortion legal around the country.

“I’m convinced that the timing is right for this,” said State Representative Roger Hunt, a Republican who has sponsored the bill, noting the appointments of Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. and Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. to the court.

“The strong possibility of a third appointee sometime soon makes this all very real and very viable,” Mr. Hunt added, a reference to conjecture that Justice John Paul Stevens, 85, might soon retire. “I think it will all culminate at the right time.”

Monday, February 20, 2006

What Do I Want to Do When I Grow Up?

That is apparently a real stumper for me. I have been many things, done many jobs, explored numerous areas of interest in my life thus far, yet I am at a loss as to what I want to do after I graduate. I will be 44-years-old by the time I get my undergraduate degree, so it's not as if I am some young kid whining about my future. I have been out there. I know what the so-called real world is all about. I know that I love research and writing, but the thought of making a firm decision about makes me kind of queasy.

Friday, February 10, 2006

Do African Americans and Whites View Psychotherapy Differently?

I ask because I had an interesting discussion with a classmate yesterday afternoon about this very thing. Like me, she is a nontraditional (older) student majoring in sociology. We live within 2 miles of each other. We both like to talk. Those are our common traits. Our differences? Well, I am gay and she is straight with two grown children. She is African American and I am white. She is a devout Christian and I am not. However, our differences don't seem to matter and we enjoy talking after class and spending time together.

Yesterday, she told me about an unpleasant encounter with a faculty member in which she was treated with disrespect. She said it left her upset and troubled her all weekend. After we talked about the situation a bit, I asked if she knew about GSU's counseling center which offers free counseling to students. As it turns out, she had not only heard about the center, but had called them to get information. However, as much as she wanted to go, she hesitated. I told her that it was normal to be anxious, but the experience should prove to be helpful.

She explained that she was not afraid, but that her children had expressed concern about her desire to get counseling. When she told her adult daughter about the center, her response was, "You've only been in school five weeks, Mom, has it already made you crazy?!"

I laughed at first because I assumed her daughter had been joking. She wasn't. My friend explained that, in her community, the only people who see psychologists are crazy people and crackheads. I was incredulous at first, but then I thought about all the therapy environments I'd been in - public as well as private. Just how many clients had been persons of color? I could think of only a handful compared to dozens of white clients. Also, the white clients were from a spectrum of socioeconomic backgrounds. Could it be that African Americans view therapy that differently than whites do?

We talked for some time about the question and what we each knew from our particular background. In the end, we agreed that the question needed more research. I spoke with my partner last night about it. She is a psychology major and she offered some suggestions as to where to begin. I need a topic proposal for a term paper in Wealth, Power & Inequality next week. I think I may have found it. More later.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

UPDATE: Young Bush crony resigns

From the New York Times:

George C. Deutsch, the young presidential appointee at NASA who told public affairs workers to limit reporters' access to a top climate scientist and told a Web designer to add the word "theory" at every mention of the Big Bang, resigned yesterday, agency officials said.
Mr. Deutsch's resignation came on the same day that officials at Texas A&M University confirmed that he did not graduate from there, as his résumé on file at the agency asserted.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Gender Inequality in the Boardroom

This afternoon, in my Wealth, Power & Inequality class, the professor asked us to discuss Gender Inequality and Behavioral Restrictions, in particular. A young women seated next to me stated confidently that, while it "used to be bad" for women in business, things are pretty equal now. She went on to claim that there are "lots of female CEOs of big companies" and asserted that "any woman" can go as far as she wants in business. I raised my hand and respectfully disabused her of those notions.

First of all, as of 2005, there were 9 women CEOs in the Fortune 500. Nine. That is less than 2%. If you follow that link, you might think there were 19 female CEOs of Fortune 500 companies. Look closely and you will see that companies from the Fortune 1000 were used to compile the list.

Secondly, women still make less than men for the same jobs. While it is true that more and more women are in managerial positions, they and the women in all other jobs still take home less than the men. For every dollar earned by a white man, a white woman makes somewhere around 78 cents. For women of color, the numbers are even worse. An African American woman earns 67 cents to a white man's dollar, and a Hispanic woman gets 56 cents.

Lastly, and I believe more telling than any of the figures I could cite, women in business are held to different standards than men. A man who is aggressive and knows what he wants and how to get it is considered assertive and confident. A woman with those same traits is called a bitch.

UPDATE: George Deutsch Did Not Graduate From Texas A & M

In an earlier post, I mentioned how a Bush administration appointee was trying to censor top NASA scientists. It was ridiculous because this fellow, Deutsch, was a 24-year-old journalism grad from Texas A & M and he was trying to tell some of the greatest scientific minds working for our nation what they could and could not say. Funny thing is - Deutsch never graduated. He left A & M early to work for the Bush/Cheney campaign. I believe that makes him our Tool of the Week!

Monday, February 06, 2006

I'm Thinking No to a Vacation in the Bahamas

What the hell? From The Freeport News comes this gem of an editorial, Lesbianism in our schools which blames a secret network of lesbians in the schools for Bahama's failing student average. Uh, okay. I cannot even begin to address the twisted (non)logic of this editorial. Basically, what I get from reading this are two things: One, students in the Bahamas are performing quite poorly; two, LGBT travelers should consider vacationing elsewhere.

In a follow-up to the claims of Deputy Director of Government School Security for the Northern Bahamas Stephen Plakaris, Grand Bahama Christian Council President Bishop Ricardo Grant says he will launch a probe into the matter. What is it with these men and their probes? Sorry, I could not resist. By the way, these men are aware that the problem extends beyond their fair shores:
The problem is not exclusive to The Bahamas as research shows that there is seemingly also rampant lesbianism in schools in the United States and Canada, Plakaris says.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

They hate us. They really, really hate us!

The Bush admininstration voted with Iran, Cameroon, China, Cuba, Iran, Pakistan, the Russian Federation, Senegal, Sudan, and Zimbabwe to block consultative status of the United Nations to two LGBT organizations. This prompted a response from nearly 40 LGBT rights groups in the form of a letter to Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice. In the letter, the groups request an explanation for this homophobic action.

Climate Expert told to keep quiet by Bush errand boy

George Deutsch is a 24-year-old journalism graduate from Texas A&M. On his resume, he lists time spent in the war room of the 2004 Bush-Cheney campaign. Of course, Bushco appointed him to a PR position in charge of overseeing NASA. He told respected scientist Dr. James Hansen to shut up with his statements about global warming. Then, he tried to direct NASA websites to list established scientific fact as theory and inject so-called Intelligent Design garbage in their work. Unbelievable! Read more about it here.

Second Wave Feminist Legend Betty Friedan Dead at 85

Friedan, who wrote the groundbreaking manifesto, The Feminine Mystique, died at her home on her birthday. She co-founded NOW, the National Organization for Women and NARAL, the National Abortion Rights Action League. Although she may or may not have coined the term The Lavender Menace to refer to lesbian feminists, she definitely saw lesbians as a threat to the success of the Women's Movement. She later mellowed on that point.

But at the same time, Friedan insisted that the women's movement had to remain in the American mainstream, that men had to be accepted as allies and that the family should not be rejected.
"Don't get into the bra-burning, anti-man, politics-of-orgasm school," Friedan told a college audience in 1970.

To more radical and lesbian feminists, Friedan was "hopelessly bourgeois," Susan Brownmiller wrote at the time. Friedan, deeply opposed to "equating feminism with lesbianism," conceded later that she had been "very square" and uncomfortable about homosexuality.

"I wrote a whole book objecting to the definition of women only in sexual relation to men. I would not exchange that for a definition of women only in sexual relation to women," she said.

Nonetheless she was a seconder for a resolution on protecting lesbian rights at the National Women's Conference in Houston in 1977.

Excerpt above is from CNN obituary for Betty Friedan. Read the first chapter of The Feminine Mystique here.

Another Great Loss

I have been remiss in posting regularly, so I want to take a moment to mark the recent passing of feminist playwright Wendy Wasserstein who died far too young at 55 from lymphoma. Broadway theatres dimmed their lights on Tuesday of last week in her honor.