A suggestion: People who pose as Constitutional literalists should know what's in it

Apparently, the switchboards and servers at NPR have crashed because of the vitriol directed at them by the ignorant who are exercised about the firing of Juan Williams. Although the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution guarantees freedom of speech, it does not guarantee employment after the free exercise thereof.  I’m so tired of right-wingers who don’t get the distinction.  As they were so fond of reminding us during the invasion of Iraq, “freedom isn’t free!”

Dumba$$es.  Here is the full text of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution:  “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”  Please note that there is no guarantee of employment in this amendment, at NPR or anywhere else. 

This reminds me of a letter to the editor of the Dayton Daily News from the previous decade, in which a reader complained about how liberals thought it was A-OK to burn the U.S. flag but were all upset over a local incident in which someone had stolen and torched a neighbor’s rainbow (gay rights) flag.  Continue reading

An "olive branch" or a stick to beat her with?

Did anyone else wake up to this news about Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas’s wife Virginia Thomas’s shockingly pushy voicemail to Antia Hill and think WTF???

“Good morning Anita Hill, it’s Ginni Thomas,” it said. “I just wanted to reach across the airwaves and the years and ask you to consider something. I would love you to consider an apology sometime and some full explanation of why you did what you did with my husband.”

Ms. Thomas went on: “So give it some thought. And certainly pray about this and hope that one day you will help us understand why you did what you did. O.K., have a good day.”

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In a statement conveyed through a publicist, Ms. Thomas confirmed leaving the message, which she portrayed as a peacemaking gesture. She did not explain its timing.

“I did place a call to Ms. Hill at her office extending an olive branch to her after all these years, in hopes that we could ultimately get past what happened so long ago,” she said. “That offer still stands. I would be very happy to meet and talk with her if she would be willing to do the same. Certainly no offense was ever intended.”

In response to Ms. Thomas’s statement, Ms. Hill said that she had testified truthfully about her experiences with the future Justice Thomas and that she had nothing to apologize for.

What’s next:  Laura Bush asking for an apology from the people of New Orleans for suffering from Hurricane Katrina in 2005?  Continue reading

Now do you believe me?

I hate–I mean–I love to say “I told you so!”  Online privacy and discretion:  it’s not just for the teenagers and young adults whom we love to lecture about this.  And you don’t even have to be in confessional mode to give up a lot of intel to teh fB, as it turns out!

Yes, I know:  I have a blog, so what the heck am I doing standing up for privacy and discretion on the world wide non-peer reviewed intertubes?  Well, those of you who know me in real life understand that this blog represents only a highly selective part of my personal life, and is mostly about my professional identity.  Those of you who don’t know me in RL–well, let’s just say you’re not missing much, but you’re missing enough for me not to wonder if I’ve overshared here. Continue reading

Prof. Pushbutton to the rescue!

Reader and commenter truffula sent this along last week.  She writes, “A colleague dared me to send the attached page from the January 1960 issue of Popular Science to our [University] President via campus mail.  Not that he needs any encouragement from the rabble.”  I thought you all might enjoy this glimpse of futures past, since many of you live with its ghosts (“distance education,” on-line classes, “concurrent enrollment,” and whatever brilliant moneysaving or -making scheme they think of next.) Continue reading

Why must women's colleges exist? A personal reflection

This could be a very short post, with my answer being because they p!$$ off and disturb so many people!  But I’ll take the time to explain, for those of you who are curious.  As some of you recall, I linked to Tenured Radical’s series last week on the role of women’s colleges in women’s education, and jumped into the fray of the comments threads as well.  Knitting Clio has posted some further thoughts on this subject too–I objected to her raising the issue of class privilege rather than addressing the questions TR had asked, but she insists that we need to talk about the role of feminist education in co-educational institutions too.

This particularly heated comment thread–44 comments so far!–concludes with Dr. Cleveland writing, “This has been an amazing thread.  I’ll admit that I needed my eyes opened to how much resistance there is to the mission of women’s colleges. It’s shocking to witness. But it also makes a very strong case for why women’s colleges are still very, very necessary. If TR hadn’t persuaded me, the hostility of some of the commenters toward women’s education would have.”  I’ve been thinking about this all week long, and would like to share my personal experiences of my attendance as an undergraduate and brief affiliation as a faculty member with women’s colleges. 

When I enrolled in a women’s college 24 years ago, I wasn’t expecting that it would be all that different from any other small, liberal-arts college.  But I was wrong–not so much in the way that it functioned or educated me, but in the way that other people reacted to the existence of women’s colleges and to the fact that I attended one.  I came to understand that my college represented something deeply threatening to other people, most of whom were men.

As a freshman, I had a boyfriend from back home who had strange fantasies about what a women’s college meant for the everyday lives of students.  He’d say things like, “You’re all women in the dorm, why don’t you all just walk around naked all of the time?  Why do you need bathrobes?”  “Do you just sit in your dorm rooms topless?  Do you touch each other, and give each other hugs and kisses?”  Continue reading

Campaigning while female, 2010

OK, OK, I know I said I’d stay out of it because I’m so disgusted by this campaign season, but I just can’t let some of the misogyny deployed against women candidates this year go without comment.  Now, let’s be clear:  I would never vote for Christine O’Donnell, the Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate in Delaware.  I think she’s desperately unqualified, and not very bright.  However, when have you ever seen coverage of a male politician like this, courtesy of Rebecca Dana at The Daily Beast?

“She baked me cookies once,” said Paul Angelini, her old neighbor in the city’s Little Italy district. He remembered O’Donnell as sweet, but the cookies as inedible. “Chocolate chip. They were burnt. They were terrible, really.”

Angelini lived with a few pals in a three-bedroom rowhouse nicknamed “the frat house,” and O’Donnell would swing by from time to time to chat. “We probably flirted a little bit with her, and she flirted a little bit back, that sort of thing.”

She would lounge on her front porch in her pajamas some weekends, smoking cigars and drinking wine with a girlfriend. She doted on her cats, but was not always fastidious about her housekeeping, according to neighborhood gossip passed along by her former housekeeper, Pam.She feuded bitterly with the woman next door. And, neighbors couldn’t help but note, for a candidate who’s been so vocally opposed to any pre-marital sexual activity, O’Donnell had frequent overnight visits from her boyfriend Brent, a Philadelphia lawyer who bought her house just before it went into foreclosure and still owns it to this day.

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The magnitude of O’Donnell’s ambition irked some of her old neighbors. Continue reading

As if there aren't enough wealthy white men in politics

Rich whities in their natural habitat

I laughed so hard I almost did a spit take on my morning newspaper when I saw this story about a mistake in a candidate’s name on Chicago voting machines:

It’s the typo to end all typos: Illinois gubernatorial candidate Rich Whitney’s name is misspelled as “Rich Whitey” on some electronic-voting machines in Chicago, and officials say the problem can’t be fixed before election day.

Maybe he should have stuck with “Richard,” or chosen “Dick” or “Rick” as a nickname.  (I’m not blaming the victim–I’m just sayin’.)