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Virtually Speaking tonight

Tuesday, April 3 | 9 pm eastern | 6 pm pacific |Virtually Speaking Tuesdays | Spocko and Mike Stark talk about today’s media environment, effective activism, organizing strategies and the power of the 99%. Follow @spockosbrain @mike_stark Listen live and later on BTR


One of my friends just emailed his take on the president’s statement today:

The President said he has done pretty much everything the Republicans asked for, he’s cut government down even smaller than it was under Reagan, and they still say bad things about him. So he is prepared to cut the things government does for us even more just to prove he is not what they say he is.

Hmm. Well!

I have to agree: The guys whose wives stay home do seem to have a bit of what we would call in Philadelphia an “attytude” problem. And as the study says, it’s not overt hostility toward women – it’s more of a paternalistic upper-management mentality:

By insisting on staying the breadwinners for their families, men seem to also be subconsciously buying into the idea that their wives shouldn’t work. And according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics from 2010 (as cited in the study), there are more than 11 million men in such arrangements, contributing to a culture opposed to women working. The study suggests that these men might be characterized as “benevolent sexists,” but clarifies they are not likely to be overtly hostile towards women.

There is an age-old problem with being a woman at home, and it has to do with distribution and claiming of power. The woman’s opinions are too frequently seen as advisory-only (except in the areas traditionally designated to women: children, decor, schools, etc.) and it’s been my observation through the years that women then indulge in covert strategies to assert their power. In other words, “what he doesn’t know won’t hurt him.” So purchases are made in secret and smuggled into the home, much like an “I Love Lucy” episode.

You see a lot of hostage-like negotiation in which the financial hostage (wife) isn’t even aware that she’s conceded her right to partnership power. Instead, she’s focused on wheedling, nagging, cajoling and subterfuge. No way for grownups to act!

A lot of guys like it, though. After all, it’s familiar to them. Their mothers did it (or their mothers didn’t do it, and the sons preferred they had), it seemed to keep the family together, what’s the big deal? The big deal is, one “partner” in this sort of relationship is accepting inferior status. The other partner is agreeing.

Over the past few years, I’ve had male friends mention how much they wished their wives would go to work. “But not a real job,” they’re quick to add. “Just something to help out.” Because if women insist on career jobs, it’s a lot more threatening than a part-time gig at a convenience store, I suppose.

I’ve also known couples where both partners have careers, but the husband makes a lot more money. That person seems to retain the same paternal mindset as if she wasn’t working at all, which is interesting.

The marriages in which both partners earn a comparable amount of money seem to me to be a lot happier, I suppose because they’re not fighting about money – or at least, not from the power perspective.

I’m interested in hearing about your own experiences, both men and women. What do you think?

Rating teachers

Teacher evaluations are a joke.

Rescuing shopping malls

Some great ideas in here. What would you do with an empty mall?

Sez soon-to-be-indicted SC Gov. Nikki Haley!


And the priest has “no idea” how the porn got there? Maybe if he focuses really, really hard, it’ll come to him:

An investigation is under way after indecent images were “inadvertently” shown by a Catholic priest during a presentation at a primary school in County Tyrone.

Father Martin McVeigh projected the images onto a screen during a meeting for parents in Pomeroy in preparation for First Holy Communion. One child was also present.

Parents said 16 indecent images of men were displayed. The priest said he had no knowledge of the offending imagery.

Cardinal Sean Brady said the PSNI had indicated that no crime had been committed.

Activist judges

Jeffrey Tobin on the Supreme Court and the Affordable Care Act:

As the Justices have said repeatedly, the courts should overrule the work of Congress only on the rarest occasions. “Conclusory second-guessing of difficult legislative decisions,” Chief Justice William Rehnquist once observed, “is not an attractive way for federal courts to engage in judicial review.” In recent years, the Justices have intervened in these matters solely to protect the rights of minorities shut out of the legislative process. (Insurance companies, though they are few in number, do not count as a “minority.”) Now, instead, the Supreme Court acts as a sort of supra-legislature, dismissing laws that conflict with its own political agenda. This was most evident in the 2010 case Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, when the five-Justice majority eviscerated the McCain-Feingold campaign-finance law (not to mention several of its own precedents), because Congress showed insufficiently tender regard for the free-speech rights of corporations. The question now is whether those same five Justices will rewrite—or erase—the health-care law on which Barack Obama has staked his Presidency.

It’s tempting to analyze the case in the context of election-year politics, to game out how Obama might be helped or hurt by the Court’s eventual decision. (Thumbs down on the act discredits the President with moderates—or, maybe, mobilizes his base. Thumbs up, maybe, does the opposite.) But the decision is a great deal more important than its immediate political aftermath. It’s about what the government can do, not just who runs it. If the Court acts in line with the sentiments expressed by the conservatives last week, it could curtail the policymaking options of Congress for a generation. An adverse decision on the Affordable Care Act could even jeopardize the prospects for conservative legislative priorities, like health-insurance vouchers or private retirement accounts in lieu of Social Security. It is simply not the Supreme Court’s business to be making these kinds of judgments. The awesome, and final, powers of the Justices are best exercised sparingly and with restraint. Their normal burdens of interpreting laws are heavy enough. No one expects the Justices to be making health-care policy any more than we expect them to be picking Presidents, which, it may be remembered, is not exactly their strength, either.

The problem with knowing stuff

Is it makes you a lot pickier about jobs. I just got a call from what I thought was an automotive supply company when I applied for an inside sales job. Turns out they’re one of those used car dealerships with payday loan-type rates – you know, where you pay weekly? I told him thanks, but no thanks.

Hey kids, get ready to squat and cough

Let’s see. No matter that you’re not actually guilty of anything, or that you haven’t even been charged. All they need to do is hold you. It doesn’t even matter that blanket strip-search policies are considered human rights violations in other, more civilized countries. No, to the extremely permeable Supreme Court weathersock Anthony Kennedy, all that matters is which direction the hot air of Tony “The Honey Badger” Scalia blows him, and that’s where he goes:

WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court on Monday ruled by a 5-to-4 vote that officials may strip-search people arrested for any offense, however minor, before admitting them to jails even if the officials have no reason to suspect the presence of contraband.

Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, joined by the court’s conservative wing, wrote that courts are in no position to second-guess the judgments of correctional officials who must consider not only the possibility of smuggled weapons and drugs, but also public health and information about gang affiliations.

“Every detainee who will be admitted to the general population may be required to undergo a close visual inspection while undressed,” Justice Kennedy wrote, adding that about 13 million people are admitted each year to the nation’s jails.

Dear God, I just want to say it would be kind of neat if You managed to get Justice Kennedy singled out for personal attention by the TSA the next time he take a plane. Just for empathy purposes, of course!

The procedures endorsed by the majority are forbidden by statute in at least 10 states and are at odds with the policies of federal authorities. According to a supporting brief filed by the American Bar Association, international human rights treaties also ban the procedures.

The federal appeals courts had been split on the question, though most of them prohibited strip-searches unless they were based on a reasonable suspicion that contraband was present. The Supreme Court did not say that strip-searches of every new arrestee were required; it ruled, rather, that the Fourth Amendment’s prohibition of unreasonable searches did not forbid them.

Just like the right-wing attempts to force drug tests on people collecting unemployment benefits, Justice Kennedy’s fantasies aren’t grounded in actual reality:

Justice Breyer wrote that there was very little empirical support for the idea that strip-searches detect contraband that would not have been found had jail officials used less intrusive means, particularly if strip-searches were allowed when officials had a reasonable suspicion that they would find something.

For instance, in a study of 23,000 people admitted to a correctional facility in Orange County, N.Y., using that standard, there was at most one instance of contraband detected that would not otherwise have been found, Judge Breyer wrote.

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