Category Archives: Society

Women’s Equality Now and Forever

A Republican Party official in Texas, perplexed by the growing movement for equal pay for women in the workforce, opined that rather than resorting to the law, women should merely learn to be better negotiators. The only reason for the pay differential between males and females doing the same work is the lack of negotiating ability among women.

I recall in another era serious editorialists with a slight Southern drawl countering the Civil Rights movement with a patronizing dismissal, “our Black folks are happier when unburdened by the cares and worry that accompany voting rights”.

Yeah, sure.

Discrimination against women, like discrimination against other victims of bias, has no basis in the absurdities propounded by those who defend the indefensible. People who do the same work, and apply the same experience, should be paid the same PERIOD.

My mother entered the business world as a file clerk, progressed to secretary, and then assumed the role and responsibility of a buyer for the purchasing department of a cutting-edge electronics firm that was later acquired by the once-mighty Control Data Corporation. After a number of years performing the function of a mid-level executive buyer, she sought the title and something approximating the salary. Her boss, who frequently turned over the department to her care when he left the office for his 4 hour liquid lunch breaks tut-tutted patiently, “But, Annie, you’re a woman. You can’t have a man’s job even if you are already doing it. It’s just not done”.

Mom already negotiated most contracts for the department, and then typed them up and signed them to boot. But prejudice being what it is precluded her from being paid for the negotiating ability she exercised on behalf of the company. The Law then had not caught up with where we are today, and today is still far away from where we should be.

My wife in high school sought to play basketball but was denied the court unless no boys wanted it. Girls could play only when the boys were done playing and then they were not allowed to form teams for interscholastic competition. Why, she asked. The answer? “But you’re a girl and it’s just not done”. Our girls were free to compete, and our grand-daughter is an outstanding athlete able to out-bat, out-pitch and out-field many of her male friends.

Women are not kept out of the executive suite or off of the athletic field because they lack skills, they are paid piddling less and denied participation due to sheer stupidity. It would be nice if people would overcome their prejudices but it is well past time for waiting. It is the 21st century, equal pay and equal justice is overdue. Now is the time and no later.


Lester Frank Ward

“The charge of paternalism is chiefly made by the class that enjoys the largest share of government protection. Those who denounce state interference are the ones who most frequently and successfully invoke it. The cry of laissez faire mainly goes up from the ones who, if really “let alone,” would instantly lose their wealth-absorbing power…. Nothing is more obvious to-day than the signal inability of capital and private enterprise to take care of themselves unaided by the state; and while they are incessantly denouncing “paternalism,” by which they mean the claim of the defenceless laborer and artisan to a share in this lavish state protection, they are all the while besieging legislatures for relief from their own incompetency, and “pleading the baby act” through a trained body of lawyers and lobbyists. The dispensing of national pap to this class should rather be called “maternalism,” to which a square, open, and dignified paternalism would be infinitely preferable.”


The father of American Sociology and the first President of the American Sociological Association, known as the “apostle of human progress”, Ward believed that we can make Society better by the conscious application of intelligence.

Worth Seeing, We Are Overcoming


Universities Sitting on Mountains of Cash

As student debt races past personal and credit card debt, we find more and more ex-students denied a fair chance in life due to overwhelming debt. The colleges disclaim responsibility claiming that they need even more money.

How would students and their families feel when they learn that America’s colleges and universities are sitting on a TRILLION DOLLARS of cash which could be allocated to help students?

Here is an excerpt from a Press Release issued by Student Loan Justice:

Last year, it was reported that the University of Wisconsin had amassed between $400 million- $1 billion in funding, money taken from excess tuition income- most of which was supplied through the nation’s federal student loan program.   This “reserve” was built during a time where the University raised it’s tuition at a record pace and pointed to the national economic crisis as justification for these actions.

It has since been reported that this practice of siphoning tuition income was not limited to the University of Wisconsin.  In fact, it is overwhelmingly evident that most, if not all universities in this country have been engaging in similar practices. The following (courtesy of the University of Wisconsin) is a an incomplete snapshot showing the level of “tuition reserves” amassed by other, similarly sized universities over the past several years*.

These data, if accurate, point to a cumulative tuition “slush fund” of hundreds of billions of dollars, nationwide.  These are not endowments.  These are not charitable funds collected via the altruism of alumni, foundations, or other wealthy benefactors.  These are monies siphoned from the most vulnerable citizens at a time when the wealth disparity between the richest Americans, and these citizens has never been higher.

The universities, writ large, should be ashamed of themselves.  The media should investigate this matter thoroughly to find out precisely how deep and how wide this abuse of the citizenry goes.  The people should be outraged.  Finally, Congress should take whatever actions necessary to acknowledge, and rectify this massive injustice in a manner that benefits those harmed. as opposed to fines, etc, which only serve to enlarge federal, state or other governmental coffers.



That Sinking Feeling

Ever try to imagine what the last few hours on the Titanic would have been like?

No need to imagine, the U.S.S. United States is going down. All the lifeboats have already been commandeered by the One Percent.

The following excerpt from Chris Hedges’ latest exposition is powerfully written:

The final days of empire give ample employment and power to the feckless, the insane and the idiotic. These politicians and court propagandists, hired to be the public faces on the sinking ship, mask the real work of the crew, which is systematically robbing the passengers as the vessel goes down. The mandarins of power stand in the wheelhouse barking ridiculous orders and seeing how fast they can gun the engines. They fight like children over the ship’s wheel as the vessel heads full speed into a giant ice field. They wander the decks giving pompous speeches. They shout that the SS America is the greatest ship ever built. They insist that it has the most advanced technology and embodies the highest virtues. And then, with abrupt and unexpected fury, down we will go into the frigid waters.

The last days of empire are carnivals of folly. We are in the midst of our own, plunging forward as our leaders court willful economic and environmental self-destruction. Sumer and Rome went down like this. So did the Ottoman and Austro-Hungarian empires. Men and women of stunning mediocrity and depravity led the monarchies of Europe and Russia on the eve of World War I. And America has, in its own decline, offered up its share of weaklings, dolts and morons to steer it to destruction. A nation that was still rooted in reality would never glorify charlatans such as Sen. Ted Cruz, House Speaker John Boehner and former Speaker Newt Gingrich as they pollute the airwaves. If we had any idea what was really happening to us we would have turned in fury against Barack Obama, whose signature legacy will be utter capitulation to the demands of Wall Street, the fossil fuel industry, the military-industrial complex and the security and surveillance state. We would have rallied behind those few, such as Ralph Nader, who denounced a monetary system based on gambling and the endless printing of money and condemned the willful wrecking of the ecosystem. We would have mutinied. We would have turned the ship back.

See the complete article


“We have forgotten what this country once understood, that a society based on nothing but selfishness and greed is not a society at all, but a state of war of the strong against the weak. “

CHARLES SIMIC, “Bleak House” New York Review of Books (October 16, 2013)

As the Temps Soar, the MegaFires Burn, Heat Stress Disables More, Pandemics Spread, at Least We Can Rest Assured It is for a Good Cause: The SuperRich will Become Even Richer While the Rest of Us Bake

Tim Radford.                                                                                                                  An excerpt from Climate News Network August 14, 2013

European climate scientists say the greenhouse gases already in the atmosphere mean it is inevitable that far more parts of the world will experience more frequent and severe heat waves in the next 30 years.

LONDON, 15 August – Stand by for extreme weather. Prepare for heat waves on a scale that was once unprecedented. For once, there is no “if” in the forecast. Even if governments abandon fossil fuels everywhere, immediately and invest only in green energy, there will be new record temperatures.

The greenhouse gas emissions of the last few decades now mean that regions of the planet subjected to extreme heat will double by 2020 and quadruple by 2040.

Dim Coumou of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research in Germany and a colleague from Madrid in Spain make this prediction in Environmental Research Letters. In essence, they are only pointing out that the unprecedented heat waves that have already been recorded this century in Australia, the US, Russia, Greece and so on will increase in frequency and extent and in degrees Celsius.

They have followed the mathematical logic of climate models and simple thermodynamics. Extra greenhouse gas already in the atmosphere has pushed up global average temperatures. But an average is only the sum of all the extremes divided by the days in the year.

And as average temperatures rise in response to carbon dioxide levels, so will the extremes. And their forecast says the second half of the century will be even worse – unless global greenhouse emissions are reduced substantially.

“In many regions, the coldest summer months by the end of the century will be hotter than the hottest experienced today –  that’s what our calculations show for a scenario of unabated climate change. We would enter a new climatic regime”, said Dr Coumou.

Such warnings are not new: the World Meteorological Organisation made similar predictions in July, and the first years of this century have been marked by dramatic spells of record-breaking heat. In Russia in 2010, for instance, the temperature in July went up by 7°C to a daily peak of 40°C in Moscow.

Right now, 5% of the land area of the planet has experienced heat extremes, that is, temperatures far beyond the normal for summer at that latitude: temperatures that spell out deaths from heat stroke or heat exhaustion, harvest loss, devastating drought and forest fires.

By 2020 the area at risk will reach 10%, and by 2040, one fifth of the land area of the planet will be experiencing extreme temperatures at some point in the summer, just because of the extra energy already in the planetary system. “There’s already so much greenhouse gas in the atmosphere today that the near-term increase of heat extremes seems to be almost inevitable”, says Coumou.

Editor’s Note; Having just seen the new Matt Damon flick, ELYSIUM, set in the near-future where the SuperRich have escaped the planet to live on a climate-controlled space colony while the 99% broil down below on a polluted, heat-stressed planet subject to police-state oppression, the projection of heat extremities hit home. We can’t help thinking that not long ago when it may have still been possible to take steps to avoid Hell-on-Earth, prudent change was stymied to protect the profits of the Oil-Coal Industry & its owners. When you’re gasping for your last breath, just remember whose sins you and your children are dying for.