Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Sexual Orientation is not a "lifestyle" or "choice"

Last week the two candidates for election as Virginia's next governor agreed to disagree about a number of things... among them sexual orientation. Tim Kaine said that he did not think that being gay is a "choice;" Jerry Kilgore said that he wasn't sure but that he thought being gay is a "choice" or "lifestyle."

For me, it is clear that Tim Kaine is right and Kilgore is wrong.

It is clear to me for the same reasons that I have always "known" that my brother's autism was NOT caused by my parents -- first, personal experience and, second, the clear weight of medical and scientific research.

As a college student in the 60's, I listened to an abnormal psych professor lecture about the environmental/family/social causes of autism. I stood up and told him he was wrong. My brother was clearly born autistic. He was completely unresponsive to his surroundings as a baby (my mom thought he was deaf); he didn't cry until he was two; and his savant skills (drawing in three dimension without instruction, an amazing rote memory, perfect pitch) were apparent before he was three. Moreover, many of his mannerisms (rocking, spinning, using his hands to create lights and shadows) were very reminiscent of behaviors of college friends who were stimulating their brains with a variety of chemicals at the time ... the difference, it seemed to me, was that my brother was "tripping" without any outside chemicals but clearly as a result of something going on with his brain chemistry. Later, and now universally accepted, scientific evidence proved that I was "right" and the professor was "wrong" about the causes of autism.

Similarly, throughout my life, I have observed and listened to the stories and experiences of my gay and lesbian friends about their journeys of self-discovery and acceptance of their sexual orientation ... journeys that always began with awareness in childhood of their difference, whether understood fully or acknowledged at the time. I came early to the conclusion that, like my brother's autism, sexual orientation is something that one is born with... it is not learned or chosen.

The growing weight of scientific evidence increasingly supports my conclusion and Kaine's position. Studies of genetically identical twins have found strong evidence that genes or other pre-birth factors clearly play a role in defining a person's sexual orientation.

"Nobody in science now believes that sexual orientation is caused by events in adolescence...Homosexuality is an early, probably prenatal and irreversible preference." Author and geneticist Matt Ridley in Nature via Nuture at page 159.

Read both sides of the debate and see what you think.

I am confident that you'll understand why I cried the night the Virginia House of Delegates passed the Virginia "defense of marriage statute." I was sad that history inevitably will judge my friends among the delegates who voted for the bill in the same way that history now judges the legislators who voted for Virginia's now discredited miscegenation laws -- as bigots.

Friday, November 12, 2004

Time to Hold Bush Accountable

Bush called women entrepreneurs together in 2001 and made a number of promises some of which he repeated during the campaign, for example, his promise to pass legislation authorizing Association Health Plans.

It's time for him to deliver.

Will the SBA delay completing the Congressionally mandated disparity study another four years?

Will women business owners continue to lose $5 billion a year in contracts as the feds continue to fail to meet the 5% procurement goal set by Congress 10 years ago in 1994?

The administration hasn't changed but that shouldn't mean that women business owners should allow themselves to continue to be shortchanged....

More on Bush and women business owners


Thursday, October 14, 2004

We're Still Listening

They entered the ring again last night and there was an occasional feint toward women or a jab at one of our issues, but overall.....lots of talking at us... not much talking with or to us...

long on statistics ... short on empathy

Kerry did mention equal pay for women, something women have said that they want to hear about but haven't:

"If we raise the minimum wage, which I will do over several years to $7 an
hour, 9.2 million women who are trying to raise their families would earn
another $3,800 a year.

The president has denied 9.2 million women $3,800 a year, but he
doesn't hesitate to fight for $136,000 to a millionaire.

One percent of America got $89 billion last year in a tax cut, but
people working hard, playing by the rules, trying to take care of their kids,
family values, that we're supposed to value so much in America -- I'm tired of
politicians who talk about family values and don't value families.

What we need to do is raise the minimum wage. We also need to hold onto
equal pay. Women work for 76 cents on the dollar for the same work that men do.
That's not right in America.

And we had an initiative that we were working on to raise women's pay.
They've cut it off. They've stopped it. They don't enforce these kinds of
things."


And both candidates talked about their competing health care plans.

Kerry reaffirmed his commitment to procurement goals for minority businesses (no mention of the 5% goal for WBO's); Bush talked about ending contract bundling (which the data show he has not done; OMB said recently that bundling is at an all time high).

But it all seemed to come from their heads ... even when they talked about the strong women in their lives (Kerry seemed even less able to connect with feelings here).

I'm still looking for the guy who can genuinely speak from the heart without losing his head...

I'm still looking for the "real deal."




Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Are Kerry and Bush Talking to Women Voters?

One wonders whether the current "excitement" about the election will wane as November approaches ... drowned in a torrent of bellicose rhetoric that increasingly makes one think... what's the difference between these two guys?

During the summer, less than 1 in 10 women participating in a LifeTime/Rock the Vote Poll reported hearing the candidates or media talk about issues that they said would influence their votes: equal pay, violence against women, health care, child care, balancing work and family.

Anyone think that's changed? If not, why would we think that women will care enough to make time to go to the polls? Just because they've registered, doesn't mean they will come ...

Perhaps tonight's domestic issues debate will provide both light and heat on these issues...

Without both, turnout among women may not be all that the candidates (especially Kerry) expect...

Choosing a Female Role Model...Hobson's Choice?

As people ask me how I think the election will turn out in November I struggle to decide what to say...

myth and literature don't treat women prophets well

there is Cassandra, given the gift of prophecy by Apollo, but later cursed (punished for having refused his sexual advances; clearly quid pro quo harassment). Her curse was to be an accurate predictor of dire consequences whom no one would believe ... see, e.g., advice to Troy "don't accept gift horses" ...

and

Pollyanna, now the common name for any person regarded as being foolishly or blindly optimistic. In Porter's book, Pollyanna was all smiles and enthusiam until dark times rocked her world and our heroine had trouble dealing ...

So shall I be optimistic and dismissed as foolish?

or

shall I predict dire consequences and be dismissed as unbelievable?

A Hobson's choice....

but then that's a subject for another post...


Friday, September 03, 2004

is it just me....or are these guys (Bush/Kerry)

lining up at the stop light in their hemi Dodges revving their engines...rearing up on their hind legs like stallions pawing the air with their hooves ... putting their heads down and snorting and pawing the ground... butting heads like two mountain goats...

guess you get my drift...


Thursday, August 26, 2004

marriage gap has kerry campaign looking for dates

usa today...women's suffrage day celebration event? ....kerry launches "take five" program to encourage supporters to find single women who want to "date" kerry on election day...apparently married women are more likely to support bush (not me of course) .. seems to be a security issue... single women feel the ups and downs in the economy more...are more likely not to have health insurance...etc. the marriage gap isn't new and is getting bigger (just like the gulf between the haves and have nots, hmmmmmmm)...1984, the difference in the presidential votes of married and unmarried women was 17 percentage points, according to surveys taken as voters left polling places. There was a 21-point marriage gap in 1992, a 29-point gap in 1996, a 32-point gap in 2000.

"single women could be to Democrats what evangelical Christians have become to Republicans: a huge group of people who often haven't been engaged in politics before but hold many views in sync with the party."

who knew?

Wednesday, August 25, 2004

stop the hate

i have trouble understanding why many of my politically passionate friends (regardless of party) have no hesitancy in describing their disagreement with particular politicians on policy as reasons to "hate" that person.

one institutionalized example of what I am talking about is whywehatebush.com.

now, while the rhetoric of the "reasons why we hate bush" is pretty overblown, the "reasons" do make a relatively cogent case for disagreeing with bush and for voting against him or for kerry.

but are they reasons to "hate" bush? e.g. he's "inarticulate". similarly, if you google "hate kerry," you'll get stuff like i "hate" kerry because he "flip flops" ... he "only wants to get elected"

now what is "hate" ?... "obsessive dislike unaccompanied by restraint and character" "a feeling of dislike so strong that it demands action"

to my mind "hate" is a term that should be reserved for persons whose actions are so antithetical to common decency and civility, such an affront to our common humanity, that they should provoke a visceral, almost unreasoned antipathy .. should we not "hate" our captors if we are Iraqi prisoners subjected to abuse and torture? should we not "hate" terrorists who purposely kill civilians to make a political point? should we not "hate" bigots who maim and kill solely because someone is of another race or religion?

can leaders teach tolerance or expect tolerance from our children when we are so ready to describe objects of mere political disagreements as people we "hate"?

perhaps before we continue to speak about our political opponents as people we "hate", we should think about the message we are sending to our children about when it is okay to "hate," consider the words of George Washington, and ask whether our words/feelings live up to his expectation of the "demeanor" of "good citizens"...

"Happily the government of the United States, which gives to bigotry nosanction and to persecution no assistance, requires only that they who liveunder its protection should demeanor themselves as good citizens." President George Washington

Friday, August 13, 2004

She Wins You Win

"you only get power if you usurp it" and other lessons that I learned about playing on the women's team when it comes to politics, business and life......

"crabs in a basket"

A friend got me thinking about "crabs in a basket" -- in the context of women and minority business owners and others who seem to be more interested in pulling each other back down into the basket than in supporting each other in our success...

then I read this quote from an essay by Bill Huang about politics in the Phillipines called "Crabs in the Basket" that got me thinking about what we need to do to address the crab problem:

"... If you think about it long and hard, though, it's not really the fault of the crab. Consider that crabs don't pull each other down in open sand or sea. It's the basket that poses the problem."

So, in the case of women and minority owned businesses, if we were free to compete equally across the full breadth of the market place instead of simply in the confines of the basket we are offered (competing against each other for a fraction of the business, for example), there might be more swimming to success and less pulling each other down in the effort to get ahead.

hmmmm ... so who put us in the basket? and, how do we make the basket go away?

Wednesday, July 28, 2004

Barack Obama

"in a tolerant America your name is no barrier to success" ...

a speech of elegance, authencity, broad appeal, consistent with larger truths...

"we are connected as one people"...

"there's not a liberal America and a conservative America-there's the United States of America.
There's not a black America and white America and Latino America and Asian America; there's the United States of America."

More Barack text of speech

See and hear the speech -- go to July 27 entry on Barack's blog to find the link...


Monday, July 26, 2004

young women are listening...candidates aren't talking to them

so, Rock the Vote and Lifetime TV...combining to Rock the Chicks.... did a survey of young women and young men and found:

"Roughly nine of ten undecided women (nearly 1/3 of those surveyed) said that a candidate’s stance on equal pay (90%), preventing violence and sexual assault (89%), women’s health issues (88%) would influence their vote. More than eight out of ten cited access to child care (84%) and balancing work and family (82%) as issues that would greatly or somewhat impact their vote."

Anybody listening?????

only 6% or less of undecided women say that they have heard a great deal from the candidates directly or in the media about these issues

more at Chicks Rock...see July Poll Report

Unmarried women more powerful than NASCAR dads

and, some of them might even be NASCAR fans
.... did you know that if unmarried women had voted at the same rate as married women in 2000 there would have been 6 million more voters?...that unmarried women make up 20% of the electorate...NASCAR dads only 6%?  And, unmarried women are progressive on social issues ...want to know more?...read the Women's Voices.  Women Vote.  report

Wednesday, July 21, 2004

women's history -- virginia style

Tennessee ratified the women's suffrage amendment in 1920 becoming the state that put the women's right to vote in the federal constitution...the Virginia General Assembly ratified the amendment in 1952...so is it any wonder that Virginia ranks in the bottom 15 states in the number of women registered to vote and who turn out?  want to know more?

Wednesday, July 07, 2004

Friday, June 25, 2004

could pet lovers doom terminator?

Arnold underestimates the political clout of pet lovers...

"Cats and dogs are like mom and apple pie. Don't mess with the pets. Most people prefer them to other people."

2004 election trivia

what is the relationship between George Bush's grandmother and Howard Dean's grandmother?
A. they were briefly married to one another during a drunken weekend in Las Vegas
B. Bush's grandmother was a bridesmaid at Dean's grandmother's wedding
C. they were both condemned to die at the Salem witch trials

The answer is B. for more trivia and the answer to why Ariana Huffington calls Democratic leaders the "pusillanimous opposition", check out Fanatics and Fools

Tuesday, June 22, 2004

women buy and sell

women buy 85% of all goods and services...now it turns out they are responsible for what men buy, too ... look who's in charge of marketing for Levitra, Gillette, ESPN and more....wouldn't it be nice if they weren't making 10-25% less than their male counterparts?
more...

women gotta ask

did you know that not negotiating your first salary can cost you more than $500,000 over your career? women who negotiate their salaries consistently can increase earnings by $1m or more? men with MBA degrees ask for starting salaries 15.6% higher than women MBA's? more ...