CommunityPam's House Blend

Open thread

We’re off to Foster’s Market to get some breakfast (and some famous scones) and then to Chapel Hill, Tim’s old stomping grounds were at UNC. Chat, argue and leave some links, please! You all have been carrying on a lot of interesting conversations…

A couple of items…

* Visit Linda Hirshman’s Screwing America. Who’s Linda Hirshman? She’s wrote me to let me know she landed as #77 on Bernard Goldberg’s 100 People Who Are Screwing Up America. Her blog takes on one defense a day, covering each person on Bernie’s list:

I am happy to announce that right wing fulminator Bernard Goldberg chose me as #77 in the 100 People Who Are Screwing America. This is the blog for the people who are screwing America. Each day for 100 days I will post a line or two of what Bernie thinks of one of the 100 and then a paragraph about who they really are.

Charity begins at home:

Although I am not the most famous feminist in America, I am the most “arrogant, smug and condescending,” according to Goldberg. My offense? I failed to recognize that brilliantly educated women who could have had the jobs that run the world are better off tending their toddlers. And I said so on Sixty Minutes. Worse than being wrong, I was judgmental. How dare I be judgmental, asked the author of a book that attacks Jimmy Carter for screwing America?

REAL LINDA HIRSHMAN is a retired Professor of Philosophy and Women’s Studies at Brandeis. In her years there, she consistently earned the highest student ratings of anyone in her Department. Her favorite comment came early in her tenure, when an anonymous student wrote, “I will never think of my life in the same way again.” Before taking up philosophy, Hirshman was a lawyer, representing working men and women. She was one of the lawyers who tried the Supreme Court case that still defines the line between the federal government and the states and got her clients a little overtime pay. Recently, her well loved daughter opened her con law book to find the class was studying her mother’s case.

Abuse found in military schools

Congress ordered the review of the Army and Navy academies after a 2003 investigation at the Air Force academy found sexual assault “a part of life” for cadets. That investigation arose after almost 150 women came forward to say they had been assaulted by fellow cadets between 1993 and 2003. Thursday’s report praised Army and Navy leaders for taking the issue seriously but said the services need to do more.

The report cited 2004 Pentagon data showing 50% of women at all three academies were harassed, mostly verbally but dozens suffering physical abuse. Tolerance of “hostile attitudes and inappropriate actions toward women” continues “to hinder the establishment of a safe and professional environment,” it said.

“I’m not surprised at all, I regret to say,” said retired Air Force brigadier general Wilma Vaught, president of the Women in Military Service for America Memorial Foundation. “I don’t know what we have to do to end” the harassment of women by some male colleagues.

These are some of the recommendations the review came up with:
Among more than four dozen recommendations:

• Toughen consequences for men who harass or tolerate harassment, or who abuse alcohol, a major factor. The system of peer loyalty, which discourages reporting, must be changed, it said.

• Increase the number of women on faculties and in student bodies. About 15% of cadets and midshipmen are female.

• Require incoming freshmen to release high school records that would show behavior problems.

• Urge Congress to pass criminal rape laws for the military similar to those of many states. Current military laws “do not reflect the full range of contemporary sexual misconduct,” including cases that don’t involve physical force.

• Give commanders more authority to close the doors of criminal hearings, to protect the accuser from public exposure and thus encourage reporting.

• Add history of women in uniform to the curricula, including why women are excluded from combat.

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Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding