Monday Reads

Good Morning!

Okay. Get ready to drag out your smallest possible violins for this UK Guardian article:Lagging at school, the butt of cruel jokes: are males the new Second Sex? Here’s the teaser subtitle: “They work longer hours, face economic insecurity and suffer worse health. Now their feckless ways are lampooned in the media. A controversial new book argues that men increasingly face a prejudice that dare not speak its name.”  Poor babies!

You might not have realised it, but men are being oppressed. In many walks of life, they are routinely discriminated against in ways women are not. So unrecognised is this phenomenon that the mere mention of it will appear laughable to some.

That, at least, is the premise of a book by a South African philosophy professor which claims that sexism against men is a widespread yet unspoken malaise. In The Second Sexism, shortly to be published in the UK, David Benatar, head of the philosophy department at Cape Town University, argues that “more boys drop out of school, fewer men earn degrees, more men die younger, more are incarcerated” and that the issue is so under-researched it has become the prejudice that dare not speak its name.

“It’s a neglected form of sexism,” Benatar says in a telephone interview. “It’s true that in the developed world the majority of economic and political roles are occupied by males. But if you look at the bottom – for example, the prison population, the homeless population, or the number of people dropping out of school – that is overwhelmingly male. You tend to find more men at the very top but also at the very bottom.”

The American men’s rights author Warren Farrell calls it “the glass cellar”. There might be a glass ceiling for women, Farrell once told the Observer, but “of the 25 professions ranked lowest [in the US], 24 of them are 85-100% male. That’s things like roofer, welder, garbage collector, sewer maintenance – jobs with very little security, little pay and few people want them.”

Okay, I hope you haven’t lost your meal and coffee!

The NYT had a good article up this weekend on the human costs or “disaster” of unemployment.

In 2007, before the Great Recession, people who were looking for work for more than six months — the definition of long-term unemployment — accounted for just 0.8 percent of the labor force. The recession has radically changed this picture. In 2010, the long-term unemployed accounted for 4.2 percent of the work force. That figure would be 50 percent higher if we added the people who gave up looking for work.

Long-term unemployment is experienced disproportionately by the young, the old, the less educated, and African-American and Latino workers.

While older workers are less likely to be laid off than younger workers, they are about half as likely to be rehired. One result is that older workers have seen the largest proportionate increase in unemployment in this downturn. The number of unemployed people between ages 50 and 65 has more than doubled.

The prospects for the re-employment of older workers deteriorate sharply the longer they are unemployed. A worker between ages 50 and 61 who has been unemployed for 17 months has only about a 9 percent chance of finding a new job in the next three months. A worker who is 62 or older and in the same situation has only about a 6 percent chance. As unemployment increases in duration, these slim chances drop steadily.

The result is nothing short of a national emergency. Millions of workers have been disconnected from the work force, and possibly even from society. If they are not reconnected, the costs to them and to society will be grim.

Unemployment is almost always a traumatic event, especially for older workers. A paper by the economists Daniel Sullivan and Till von Wachter estimates a 50 to 100 percent increase in death rates for older male workers in the years immediately following a job loss, if they previously had been consistently employed. This higher mortality rate implies that a male worker displaced in midcareer can expect to live about one and a half years less than a worker who keeps his job.

Here’s a great lesson on bullying from Michael Cohen at Alternet on “What we Learn from Mitt Romney’s Disgusting Teenage Bullying”.

There is a disturbing inference in Romney’s words – namely, that the blame should be placed as much on the sensitive shoulders of those who were hurt and offended, rather than the person who might have been responsible for inflicting pain upon them. What is missing from Romney’s non-apology is the recognition that pranks, hijinks, assaults or whatever you want to call them, can leave psychic scars that stay with the victim for years to come.

Indeed, one of the most heartbreaking elements of the Post story is that 30 years after it took place, one of the perpetrators, David Seed accidentally ran into Lauber at O’Hare International Airport and tried to apologize for not doing more to help his classmate. “It was horrible,” Lauber recounted. He went on to explain how frightened he was during the incident, and acknowledged to Seed, “It’s something I have thought about a lot since then.”

Here’s a follow-up to the Big Pharma drug pushers that try to market their miracle cures to us via their Snake Oil TV ads. It seems it really isn’t good for whatever ails ya!

The pharmaceutical company will pay $1.5 billion to settle criminal and civil liability charges for promoting the drug Depakote for uses not approved by the Food and Drug Administration.

The drug is a neurological medicine labeled to treat mania, epilepsy and migraines, and can lead to life-threatening and deadly pancreatitis in children and adults.

The money will be distributed among 49 states and will go toward consumer protection, health care and other services.

Well, first it was MS touting Obama’s feminist bona fides.  Now it’s Newsweek calling Obama the ‘first gay president’.  Okee dokee then.

The cover of Newsweek magazine this week proclaims President Obama “the first gay president.”

The cover pictures Obama with a rainbow-colored halo over his head. The New Yorker’s cover for this week, likewise, is an image of the White House, with the iconic columns on its South portico arranged in the colors of the rainbow — a prominent symbol for gay rights.

The Newsweek cover goes a step further by adding the religious symbol of a halo above Obama’s head.

Obama said this week that he is personally comfortable with same-sex marriage — the first time a sitting president has taken that position.

Newsweek’s “first gay president” cover story is written by Andrew Sullivan, a blogger at Newsweek and the Daily Beast, who is openly gay.

The moniker evokes Toni Morrison’s description of former President Bill Clinton as “the first black president.”

Well, I think I’ve done enough damage this morning.  What’s on your reading and blogging list today?

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41 Comments on “Monday Reads”

  1. ecocatwoman says:

    This was my remedy this morning for the world sucksL http://rookiemag.com/2011/11/yay-geometry-an-interview-with-joss-whedon/ Joss Whedon makes me smile & rocks my world. Can’t wait to see Much Ado About Nothing.

  2. From the link about the Second Sexism:

    “The biggest challenge is … tackling the male tendency to suffer in silence,” says Tim Samuels, presenter of Radio 5’s Men’s Hour. “We’re getting better at admitting to our weaknesses or seeking help, but there’s still such a long way to go.”

    Now I have lost my breakfast and coffee…suffer in silence? Pleeeeaze.

    And thanks for the link about Depakote, I was on that drug for 25 years, and it destroyed my liver, and probably caused my brain to become dysfunctional. I hope other drug companies take note of this settlement.

    I did find one link to share: Some Ala. farmers plant fewer crops, say immigration crackdown drove away workers to pick them – The Washington Post

    It’s unclear how many farmers are changing their planting patterns this year because of the law and whether consumers might see food shortages on the produce aisle at supermarkets. Some growers say they aren’t making any changes from years past, and neither the Alabama Department of Agriculture and Industries nor the Alabama Farmers Federation has compiled statistics yet for the year.

    But Mac Higginbotham, an expert with the federation, said this growing season is important for the state’s farmers, about 1,100 of whom grow labor-intensive produce.

    “I think this year will really show how much of a labor shortage is actually out there and it will reflect in the produce availability (and) prices eventually,” he said.

  3. Minkoff – I guess the only real solution if for males to become kept men :-)

  4. bostonboomer says:

    Jamie Dimon uses David Gregory to kick off his “saving my ass” campaign:

    Dimon’s theme was essentially as follows: “Hey, everybody makes mistakes — sure, we lost $2 billion, but we’ve still got billions more, and we’ll figure out this one ourselves without the need for any further regulations, thank you.”

    His argument is plainly designed to distract from the right way to think about JPM’s fiasco, which is that it’s exactly the sort of thing that regulations should forbid banks from doing, lest they destroy the financial system — again.

    Dimon certainly showed supreme skill in choosing his venue. In “Meet the Press” host David Gregory he had a questioner who is expert in the honored television tradition of taking interviewees at their own level of self-esteem. Also someone who is so clueless about how banks and investment markets work that he hasn’t got the slightest idea of what questions to ask, much less how to follow up on an answer.

  5. JT says:

    RE: The Second Sexism. Really? Why bother reading the book or actually thinking about the possibility of a second sexism when you can just laugh it off and make fun of those arguing–not just claiming, but actually providing evidence and reason–that it’s a serious issue. Having grown up to see many of the successes of feminism–which this book applauds, by the way, with the quaint notion that justice isn’t (or at least shouldn’t be) a competition between men and women–it’s appalling to see exactly the same kind of knee-jerk put-downs that women and men who were on the front lines of feminism so often faced (and still face in many instances). Your reaction is one symptom of the very problem the book addresses. Discrimination against women wasn’t taken seriously for a very long time, and is still a problem. It doesn’t follow from that that men aren’t also victims of certain forms of discrimination as well. Why not allow that harmful discrimination is something to be addressed no matter who its victims are?

    • dakinikat says:

      It sounds more like a class problem. How can it be sexism when women don’t control the institutions?

      • RalphB says:

        It seems to me that race, class and gender are all bound together in discriminatory effects. Separately or together they’re all problems for our society.

      • The Rock says:

        I agree Dak. A further breakdown of the statistics would do a great deal to reveal the true origins of this kind of discrimination. It may exist on some level, to what level is probably a bit murky….

        Hillary 2012

    • bostonboomer says:

      One of the problems described in the article is that boys have more learning disabilities. That’s a genetic issue. Because males have only one X chromosome, they are much more susceptible to these kinds of problems. But the discrimination (really lack of attention) is against children, not males per se. Unfortunately society doesn’t give a shit about children.

      It’s up to the males who control government, education, business, and every other institution in society to make changes to deal with this. But they don’t gve a shit about children, so they won’t.

    • Ah yes, the “second sexism”… especially all those awful oppressive sitcom jokes at the guy’s expense.
      that is why the show is called Everyone Hates Raymond. Oh wait…

      • Seriously says:

        Remember a few years ago when we were supposed to completely redesign the educational system, because it turned out when boys chose to run around the room throwing crayons at people instead of listening to the teacher or doing the reading, they sometimes didn’t get very good grades? Our conformist system was stifling the hunters by not rewarding their natural strengths and requiring them to conform to girly behavior patterns like sitting in chairs.

      • Seriously says:

        Oh, of course, this makes an appearance in the article:

        The introduction of coursework and modular exams is believed to play to traditionally female strengths – girls tend to be more methodical while boys tend to follow high-risk strategies such as cramming the night before an exam.
        Some critics argue that this creeping ‘feminisation’ has led to girls outperforming boys on almost every level: they use more words, speak more fluently in longer sentences and with fewer mistakes.

    • northwestrain says:

      This is nothing new — it is call the Patriarchy. A class system where a few really rich guys get all the good stuff and mostly do nothing. These is what I call the parasite upper class.

      Then take this whole patriarchy BS to the next level where a few white males control all the resources — and resources include all the women. That would be the Fundamentalist LDS — or a few Islamic countries. Women as a resource are traded by fathers to other supreme patriarchs to pay off loans or as part of business deals or alliance building. Again the Fundamentalist LDS as an example.

      The excess males — are used as servant or slaves to produce more money in construction jobs for their “fathers”. Excess males are deported or used as soldiers.

      Feminist have long said that the Patriarchy is unhealthy for both females AND males.

      The males doing the sh*t work are still paid far more than females for female type sh*t work.

  6. SweetSue says:

    I feel for the men condemned to a life of roofing and welding but, I can’t help noticing that the people who change my mother’s diapers and clean motel six bathrooms awash in the most disgusting human effluvia are all women.
    I wonder which jobs pay more?

    • Allie says:

      I was also struck by the comment that men work longer hours…that’s arguable to say the least. You would have to completely ignore unpaid work in the home, including child care.

    • Fannie says:

      Somebody is talking some bullschitt here – welders make good money, and most have to be trained for three years with certification. Somebody needs to look at statewide work force of welders – some men will give a left nut to have those good paying jobs today. Roofing if more contracted out work, and dangerous to boot. And depending where the garbage collectors works, some are high paying, some mimimum wage and anything in between. People must be thinking that sewer maintanece workers are out shoveling shit, but they are highly skilled, I know several who have biology degrees, those who are concrete contractors, and Joe the plumbers………..What the hell is wrong with simple, honest and honorable jobs in our Country.
      Why are men out being stupid – this isn’t about fame on the job, it’s about honorable jobs and being able to make your way in life.

  7. SweetSue says:

    Also, it’s widely believed that James Buchanan was gay,actually-not virtually.

    • dakinikat says:

      Yes. His VEEP was his partner. I heard they used to have great dinner parties and all the members of congress wanted to be invited.

  8. Pat Johnson says:

    Anyone who does not fear what is happening in this nation is living in “fools paradise”.

    Between the greedy bankers seeking more deregulation, along with major industries demanding the same, then factoring in the “nutjob religionists”, democracy as we know it will be a thing of the past.

    Strip away the bargaining rights of workers, deny women their right to choose, cutting off social nets to the poor and disadvantaged, refusing to recognize gay rights, and promoting an educational system that includes Creationism as a “study” while jacking up the costs of competing a college degree are the current proposals coming from faction of the population that is inviting a backward trend in outlook.

    The insanity comes from those who would willingly vote in favor of the party whose desire to eliminate the necessity for oversight and individual rights is appalling.

  9. RalphB says:

    I see this as a somewhat hopeful sign from Germany. Though by the time their federal elections happen, it will be too late. Pushback now would be nice.

    Merkel’s party routed in big German state

    (Reuters) – Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservatives suffered a crushing defeat on Sunday in an election in Germany’s most populous state, a result which could embolden the left opposition to step up its criticism of her European austerity policies.

    The election in North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW), a western German state with a bigger population than the Netherlands and an economy the size of Turkey, was held 18 months before a national election in which Merkel is expected to fight for a third term.

  10. Pat Johnson says:

    Just finished “In the Garden of Beasts” by Eric Larson, a memoir of nazi Germany from 1933 through 1938 as told from the writings of the American ambassor to that country and his daughter who were assigned there during the run up to Hitler’s power grab.

    What is interesting is how gradually and almost silently these laws against humanity were put into effect through the courts while the German people as at large chose to ignore the consequences.

    It is best to remember that Hitler had to work with the government itself before he became the sole dictator. Compliant members of the courts and the sitting government worked on his behalf but there were times when the German people could have risen up and put a stop to the insantiy. They did not.

    Though the Jews were their first target of business, they worked to abolish abortion and found reasons to persecute gays. The basis for their booming economy that took place after the Versaille Treaty was in the building up of their war machinery. Listening in on telephone conversations was the norm. Sound familiar?

    In the early days of the nazi regime Hitler was aided and abetted by the complicity of the courts, the parliament, the press, and the military. His “power” was not achieved overnight. It happened gradually with litte protest.

    Though Hitler and his closest advisors were more or less uneducated thugs, the intellectuals bowed to the will of these idiots which is almost parallel with the happenings here when a cadre of ante intelletuals, advancing their spurious religiosity, manages to do the same.

    The comparisons cannot be overlooked.

  11. Okay, tell me this:

    Black Pastor Tells CNN His Church Won’t Support Obama, ‘Plan To Stay Home’ | Mediaite

    So, according to this pastor, the black church community is staying home in protest of Obama’s gay marriage statement…yet, there is no outrage about the lack of employment for African Americans, and the way Obama has ignored this.

    • dakinikat says:

      I saw that guy on TV. Sheer bigoted nonsense!

    • The Rock says:

      We were talking about this in the barbershop this past weekend. While enthusiasm has waned a bit, he still enjoys stong support in the black community. Surprisingly, none of the real indicators like unemployment rate are a negative factor. All they would talk about was the fact that they didnt like his stance on SSM, saying its a sin. I brought up the increased number of drone strikes saying killing is a sin, but he has to do that. Blank stares….

      Unfortunaltely, accountability is out the window at this point. That said, I doubt highly that he will lose more than 10% support total.

      Hillary 2012

      • northwestrain says:

        This news doesn’t surprise political wonks at Sky Dancing.

        0bowma still hasn’t signed an executive order to back up his words with action. He pulls target groups from under the bus just so he can publicly toss the same people under the bus again.

        Move over — there’s no damned room under the bus.

      • RalphB says:

        Do you people even read the articles before putting the anti-Obama spin on them? I ask because there is not one damn word in that article about walking back support for gay marriage. What it says is he explained how he came to his position and that’s it.

      • Woman Voter says:

        Obama never explained why he signed President Obama Stupak Executive Order, nor Nancy Pelosi, nor Reid, nor anyone else in the Democratic Party. Obama’s historic support, even though it was just his support and not policy, is being walking back already.

        While other presidents around the world:

        ARGENTINA’S President Cristina Kirchner will write to Prime Minister Julia Gillard to encourage her to support same-sex marriage, after an Australian pair became the first foreign same-sex couple to marry in the South American country. http://www.melbourneweeklybayside.com.au/news/national/national/general/push-for-gillard-to-review-gay-marriage/2554283.aspx

      • RalphB says:

        WV, Got anything to prove his support is being walked back? Or is it just your “feeling”?

  12. RalphB says:

    This ad is absolutely brutal and, in today’s environment, is good campaigning.

    Obama’s Bain ad: ‘Like watching an old friend bleed to death’ (Updated)

  13. RalphB says:

    Willard should hope the MSM doesn’t talk about who is the candidate of Wall Street in 2012.

    REPUBLICANS NOW APPARENTLY ANGRY AT OBAMA FOR NOT BEING SOCIALIST ENOUGH

    Barack Obama, why can’t you be more of a socialist? That’s the new message from the GOP, apparently. Here’s news of a new anti-Obama attack ad:

    A conservative non-profit will spend $3.4 million to tie President Barack Obama to the financial industry in a minute-long television ad airing in seven general election battlegrounds, the group said Monday.
    [...]
    In the wake of the financial meltdown, there’s plenty of reason to criticize Obama’s record on comforting the afflicted and afflicting the comfortable. But that criticism has to come from the left. Apparently, though, the level of hypocrisy and shamelessness in GOP Land is sufficiently high that it’s also going to come from the right.