libera voce/libera mente

"free voice, free mind"

Sunday, October 30, 2005

'Breaking the Silence' on Female-on-Male Violence

Dear PBS,

A huge amount of credible research demonstrates that domestic violence is an equal opportunity experience. Take for example this one source:

REFERENCES EXAMINING ASSAULTS BY WOMEN ON THEIR SPOUSES OR MALE PARTNERS: AN ANNOTATED BIBLIOGRAPHY

SUMMARY: This bibliography examines 174 scholarly investigations: 138 empirical studies and 36 reviews and/or analyses, which demonstrate that women are as physically aggressive, or more aggressive, than men in their relationships with their spouses or male partners. The aggregate sample size in the reviewed studies exceeds 163,800.

Perhaps it's time for PBS to develop and broadcast a documentary that presents the facts as they are rather than how an extremist group would like them to be.

Please forward to . .

pmitchell@pbs.org, jwilson@pbs.org, cjohanson@pbs.org, gsagastume@pbs.org, sgray@pbs.org, sheberer@pbs.org, awinshel@pbs.org, pharrison@cpb.org

"Well, how was it?"

With that question, Jake's foundation crumpled like a napkin. Ian sat across from him at the gray cafeteria table and smiled, waiting for an answer.

"It was fun," Jake said coolly. There was no sense in denying what had happened--Ian already knew, obviously. And only Matt could have told him.

The night had started simply enough, an invitation to a party from his new friend, Matt. Jake was a first year, so receiving an invitation to a party-and from a senior, no less-was something about which Jake had been excited, even proud.

Jake didn't drink in high school, so he didn't quite understand how alcohol worked: Were six shots a lot? He stayed by Matt's side for most of the night, too intimidated to mingle with strangers and too self-aware to dance.

He retreated to a low Ikea futon in the back of the dark living room and watched the writhing bodies, felt the thick pungent air. The music and the alcohol pulsed together through his body. He felt disconnected as he watched the girls in black booty pants rubbing their asses against the guys and the group of jocks on the back porch tipping back their red plastic cups.

Squeezing onto the couch next to him, Matt broke Jake's trance. Matt's leg rubbed against Jake's leg, and his arm flopped around Jake's shoulder. And Jake leaned into him, because he was tired, because he was drunk and because it felt good to feel close to someone in this foreign place.

Sitting in the cafeteria, memories of the rest of night came in blips and flashes: his head on Matt's shoulder; a hug and lips pressed against his forehead; streetlights pulsing on a walk back to Matt's place; the sound of the door closing; the unfamiliar feeling of standing in an unfamiliar room in the dark; fumbling with belts; tumbling onto a small dormitory bed. And waking to a new sensation: a headache and an arm pressed tightly to his chest. And he remembered the kiss, how rough it felt. A little stubble can change a lot.

And now Ian knew, and if he knew, others knew, and if others knew, everyone would soon find out: his roommate, the kid from his high school who lived down the hall, his Great Aunt Phyllis. (That's just how these things work.)

So for the first time in his life, he let down his guard, and he told the truth: "It was fun."

To Ian it felt normal enough. Two friends eating Saturday brunch talking about last night's adventures.

But to Jake it was rapturous: as the words left his mouth, he felt the mortar oozing out from between the bricks he had placed inside so meticulously and methodically. The wall came down.

Before this point, he had left nothing unscripted: He was just a nice boy with good hygiene who didn't want to make out with his girlfriend of a year because he "respected her too much."

But it wasn't the truth, and now he knew it. He had felt that in his racing pulse the night before.

Splinters of uncertainty now pierced his skin and relieved him of the burden of not feeling at all.

From "We are not Charlotte Simmons: Three true stories about sex at Georgetown" by Rob Anderson in The Georgetown Voice, (latest edition).

Breaking the Silence on "Breaking the Silence"

Dear PBS Executives:

One hopes the film you recently purchased and approved for PBS stations regarding Parental Alienation Syndrome/Domestic Violence--"Breaking the Silence"--is far more biased than you had originally imagined. Or perhaps you have discovered that villifying the male of the species is getting harder and harder to do.  Wherever you stand in on this, you might at least belatedly familiarize yourselves with the facts.

As per usual with any Feminist propaganda, an example of which the film you approved most certainly is, the "statistics" they quote never fully gibe with the truth. In fact they have no reasonable relationship to it; factual data, and proper perspective on how to view it, never being offered by their lot.

You may remember statistics that came out during the early days of Feminism that appeared to show women had fewer auto accidents than men. From this Feminists concluded that women were in fact the better drivers, and that the bad-woman-driver stereotype was simply the result of masculine prejudice.  This conclusion stood until someone looked into the comparative mileage travelled by men and women, and discovered that men had fewer accidents per capita per driven mile.

In such manner the women's movement always represents the "facts"--thoroughly biased to their purposes, with little regard for the truth, for proper methodology, or for the broader picture one needs to consider fairly what is being represented.

The "facts" you have misrepresented to your viewing public through this film can also be completely discredited, as can be the producers of the film, as well as--by extension--yourselves as PBS executives.

At least one outrageous claim in this film goes against all available evidence, and is clearly intended to demonize fathers:  that kids are more at risk with custodial fathers than they are with custodial mothers.  All recent studies show that fathers are less abusive toward their children in every category of abuse, including parental child murders.

Did any of you take it upon yourself to test any of the data or conclusions made in this film? Did you just assume that a film financed by the prejudiced Mary Kay Ash Foundation, backed by the infamous NOW, with data supplied by Feminist bastion Wellesley College, narrated by the anti-male Lundy Bancroft, and including supporting views of the banned attorney Richard Ducote, to be free of bias?

In view of the reality of this radically-biased film parading as expose, shouldn't you be asking yourselves what methods you employed to evaluate the content of "Breaking the Silence", and why you as a group chose to promote it?  The opening statement alone, regarding "mothers all across the nation losing their children to abusive fathers", should have been shocking enough to inspire a careful evaluation of the film's claims.

Have you abdicated your responsibility to the public to provide fair reporting by investigating the stories you broadcast? Would you rather be converted to a propaganda arm for a sliver group of anti-male-hatred-campaign extremists?

If so you should consider abdicating your positions as public broadcast executives, your salaries partially funded by public dollars, so citizens of this fine country can get back to loving one another and raising their children well.

Please forward to . .

pmitchell@pbs.org, jwilson@pbs.org, cjohanson@pbs.org, gsagastume@pbs.org, sgray@pbs.org, sheberer@pbs.org, awinshel@pbs.org, pharrison@cpb.org

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Majority of Americans Anti-Abortion

A December 2004 poll conducted by Zogby International confirms that, by a 53% to 36% margin, the public supports the statement, "Abortion destroys a human life and is manslaughter."

Some 68 percent of Republicans agreed with the statement that abortion "destroys a human life and is manslaughter" while 43 percent of Democrats in the U.S. also agreed.
unborn child in womb
Other recent polls also confirm a majority of Americans have a pro-life perspective.

An October 2003 Washington Post-ABC News poll found a majority of Americans believe abortion is "morally unacceptable."

Some 58 percent of all respondents said they thought "abortion, when the mother's life is not in danger" was morally unacceptable. About 66 percent of Catholics agreed.

Only 39 percent of Americans found abortion morally acceptable.

Zogby.com

(1/16/2004)

Monday, October 24, 2005

Girl held in stabbing death

A 15-year-old girl accused of fatally stabbing another girl at a high school football game will be held at a juvenile detention center until her trial is over.

The girl is being prosecuted as a juvenile on second-degree murder and weapons charges in the killing last month of Kanisha Neal. Her trial is scheduled to start Dec. 12.

The victim was stabbed in the parking lot of Black High School following a football game.

Source: Associated Press.

Former school official faces prison time

October 18, 2005

THE WASHINGTON TIMES

A former regional assistant superintendent for Prince George's County (Maryland) schools faces up to 20 years in prison when she is sentenced in January for money-laundering convictions in Norfolk.

Pamela Yvette Hoffler-Riddick, 44, also faces a trial next month on charges of witness tampering, the Norfolk Virginian-Pilot reported.

Hoffler-Riddick was found guilty Friday of five counts of laundering about $50,000 in connection with a $20 million drug international ring from September 1996 to January, when she was arrested.

According to court documents, she deposited large sums of money into bank and credit union accounts in connection with the drug ring.

She pleaded not guilty in February.

Hired in 2003 by schools chief Andre J. Hornsby, Hoffler-Riddick oversaw about 40 schools in Prince George's County, earning about $138,000 a year.

"She served the system well," schools spokesman John White said. "And it was certainly a surprise when the initial issue arose, when we received the news of the arrest."

Mr. White said her contract was not renewed in June.

Before working in Prince George's, Hoffler-Riddick had been employed as a community superintendent in Montgomery County before being elevated to associate superintendent for shared accountability.

She also had worked for the Baltimore school system as executive director for intervention services and as a school administrator in the Hampton Roads area in Virginia.

Back When They Were Desperately Oppressed



The Abortion Debate No One Wants to Have

Prenatal testing is making your right to abort a disabled child more like "your duty" to abort a disabled child.

By Patricia E. Bauer

Tuesday, October 18, 2005; Page A25

SANTA MONICA, Calif. -- If it's unacceptable for William Bennett to link abortion even conversationally with a whole class of people (and, of course, it is), why then do we as a society view abortion as justified and unremarkable in the case of another class of people: children with disabilities?

I have struggled with this question almost since our daughter Margaret was born, since she opened her big blue eyes and we got our first inkling that there was a full-fledged person behind them.

Whenever I am out with Margaret, I'm conscious that she represents a group whose ranks are shrinking because of the wide availability of prenatal testing and abortion. I don't know how many pregnancies are terminated because of prenatal diagnoses of Down syndrome, but some studies estimate 80 to 90 percent.

Imagine. As Margaret bounces through life, especially out here in the land of the perfect body, I see the way people look at her: curious, surprised, sometimes wary, occasionally disapproving or alarmed. I know that most women of childbearing age that we may encounter have judged her and her cohort, and have found their lives to be not worth living.

To them, Margaret falls into the category of avoidable human suffering. At best, a tragic mistake. At worst, a living embodiment of the pro-life movement. Less than human. A drain on society. That someone I love is regarded this way is unspeakably painful to me.

This view is probably particularly pronounced here in blue-state California, but I keep finding it everywhere, from academia on down. At a dinner party not long ago, I was seated next to the director of an Ivy League ethics program. In answer to another guest's question, he said he believes that prospective parents have a moral obligation to undergo prenatal testing and to terminate their pregnancy to avoid bringing forth a child with a disability, because it was immoral to subject a child to the kind of suffering he or she would have to endure. (When I started to pipe up about our family's experience, he smiled politely and turned to the lady on his left.)

Margaret does not view her life as unremitting human suffering (although she is angry that I haven't bought her an iPod). She's consumed with more important things, like the performance of the Boston Red Sox in the playoffs and the dance she's going to this weekend. Oh sure, she wishes she could learn faster and had better math skills. So do I. But it doesn't ruin our day, much less our lives. It's the negative social attitudes that cause us to suffer.

Many young women, upon meeting us, have asked whether I had "the test." I interpret the question as a get-home-free card. If I say no, they figure, that means I'm a victim of circumstance, and therefore not implicitly repudiating the decision they may make to abort if they think there are disabilities involved. If yes, then it means I'm a right-wing antiabortion nut whose choices aren't relevant to their lives.

Either way, they win.

In ancient Greece, babies with disabilities were left out in the elements to die. We in America rely on prenatal genetic testing to make our selections in private, but the effect on society is the same.

Margaret's old pediatrician tells me that years ago he used to have a steady stream of patients with Down syndrome. Not anymore. Where did they go, I wonder. On the west side of L.A., they aren't being born anymore, he says.

The irony is that we live in a time when medical advances are profoundly changing what it means to live with disabilities. Years ago, people with Down syndrome often were housed in institutions. Many were in poor health, had limited self-care and social skills, couldn't read, and died young. It was thought that all their problems were unavoidable, caused by their genetic anomaly.

Now it seems clear that these people were limited at least as much by institutionalization, low expectations, lack of education and poor health care as by their DNA. Today people with Down syndrome are living much longer and healthier lives than they did even 20 years ago. Buoyed by the educational reforms of the past quarter-century, they are increasingly finishing high school, living more independently and holding jobs.

That's the rational pitch; here's the emotional one. Margaret is a person and a member of our family. She has my husband's eyes, my hair and my mother-in-law's sense of humor. We love and admire her because of who she is -- feisty and zesty and full of life -- not in spite of it. She enriches our lives. If we might not have chosen to welcome her into our family, given the choice, then that is a statement more about our ignorance than about her inherent worth.

What I don't understand is how we as a society can tacitly write off a whole group of people as having no value. I'd like to think that it's time to put that particular piece of baggage on the table and talk about it, but I'm not optimistic. People want what they want: a perfect baby, a perfect life. To which I say: Good luck. Or maybe, dream on.

And here's one more piece of un-discussable baggage: This question is a small but nonetheless significant part of what's driving the abortion discussion in this country. I have to think that there are many pro-choicers who, while paying obeisance to the rights of people with disabilities, want at the same time to preserve their right to ensure that no one with disabilities will be born into their own families. The abortion debate is not just about a woman's right to choose whether to have a baby; it's also about a woman's right to choose which baby she wants to have.

The writer is a former Post reporter and bureau chief. Her daughter, Margaret, is a student in the post-secondary program at the Riverview School in East Sandwich, Mass., from which Margaret received her high school diploma in 2004. She also takes classes at Cape Cod Community College.

© 2005 The Washington Post Company

Police captain charged in assault on husband

A Howard County (Maryland) police captain has been charged with trying to run down her husband.

Baltimore County police said Capt. Tara Nelson is the head of Howard County's Criminal Investigation Bureau.

Charging documents say Capt. Nelson and her husband were fighting over hotel and dining receipts she found in his car, when she ran over his motorcycle twice and then tried to hit him. Instead, she hit a tree.

Police said the couple have been having problems since last year, when Capt. Nelson said her husband was fired from his job for sexual harassment. He told police last month that she held her service weapon to his head and forced him to sign a contract to sell their house.

Capt. Nelson is charged with three counts each of felony assault and second-degree assault.

The Washington Times, October 18, 2005.

Fired for Speaking the Truth

LONDON -- One of the world's most flamboyant advertising gurus has left his job after reportedly telling an audience that women made poor executives because motherhood made them "wimp out."

Marketing giant WPP Group PLC, which is based in London and New York, said Friday it had accepted the resignation of Neil French -- a one-time debt collector, trainee matador and rock-band agent who served as the group's worldwide creative director.
woman suckling baby
According to a news report, French said women did not make it to the top because "they're crap."

Nancy Vonk, a Toronto-based creative director at WPP subsidiary Ogilvy & Mather who attended the event, said French described women as "a group that will inevitably wimp out and go 'suckle something.'"
"I kind of felt that Neil was saying out loud what a lot of people were feeling," Ms. Vonk said in an interview. "It's undeniable that women aren't getting far enough in the creative part of agencies, and I thought we were looking at the reason why."


Mr. French, often called one of advertising's best copywriters, defended his remarks in an interview:
"A belligerent question deserves a belligerent answer," he said. "The answer is, They don't work hard enough. It's not a joke job. The future of the entire agency is in your hands as creative director."


Mr. French, who has been widely pilloried on the Internet for his comments said . .
"Death by blog is not really the way to go."
The Examiner, Washington, D.C., October 24, 2005.

They're Already Murderesses

Springfield, IL (October 24, 2005) -- A new study published in the medical journal Acta Paediatrica has found that women who have had an abortion are 2.4 times more likely to physically abuse their children.

The study, led by Priscilla Coleman of Bowling Green State University, looked at data taken from a survey of 518 low-income women in Baltimore who were receiving Aid to Families with Dependent Children and who had at least one child aged 12 years or younger. The data compared rates of child abuse and neglect among women who had experienced either an involuntary (miscarriage or stillbirth) or voluntary (induced abortion) pregnancy loss.

The results showed that women with a history of one induced abortion were 2.4 times more likely to physically abuse their children than women who had not had an abortion. In addition, the increase in risk among women who had experienced an abortion was more significant than the increase among women who had experienced a miscarriage or stillbirth.

The authors suggested that "emotional difficulties and unresolved grief responses" from pregnancy loss, whether voluntary or involuntary, could have a negative impact on women's mental health and lead to unhealthy parenting responses. Past studies have linked pregnancy loss to an increase in grief reactions, anxiety, depression, sleep disturbances, and symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder, all of which can have a negative impact on parent/child relationships.

In addition, induced abortion has been linked to an increased risk of substance abuse and suicidal thoughts, and a 2002 study published in the Journal of Child Psychiatry and Psychology found that children whose mothers had a history of abortion tended to have less supportive home environments and more behavioral difficulties.

The current study showed that although a single involuntary pregnancy loss did not significantly increase the risk of child abuse or neglect, physical abuse was more common among women who had experienced multiple involuntary pregnancy losses. However, women who had repeat abortions were not more likely to abuse their children than women who had one abortion, although abortion increased the risk of physical abuse overall.

In addition, neither form of pregnancy loss was linked to child neglect, leading the authors to speculate that mothers with unresolved losses may be able to "go through the motions" of meeting their children's basic needs but have difficulty coping with issues such as anger or parent/child conflict.
"Regardless of the specific mechanisms at play, maternal history of one induced abortion does appear to be a marker for increased risk of physical abuse."
They also noted that while emotional difficulties related to miscarriage or stillbirth are usually resolved within a few years, women who have abortions are often not given an opportunity to resolve feelings of grief or other related emotions. According to Elliot Institute director Dr. David Reardon, who has worked on more than a dozen published studies documenting abortion's negative impact on women, many women either feel a need to keep the abortion a secret or are told to simply "move on" when they try to discuss their pain.

Reardon said that greater attention needs to be focused on the long-term effects of abortion on women and their families.
"The common perception seems to be that abortion solves the immediate problem of a crisis pregnancy and that therefore it must be a positive thing for women," he said. "However, more and more studies such as this one show that abortion can have a severe and lasting impact on women's lives, shaping their futures and the futures of their families for years to come."
. . .

Priscilla K. Coleman, Charles D. Maxey, Vincent M. Rue, and Catherine T. Coyle, "Associations between voluntary and involuntary forms of perintal loss and child maltreatment among low-income mothers," Acta Paediatrica 94, 2005.

Friday, October 21, 2005

We All Knew It Would Happen

College gender gap widens: 57% are women
Educators wonder whether men need preferential treatment
By Mary Beth Marklein
USA TODAY

In May, the Minnesota Office of Higher Education posted the
inevitable culmination of a trend: Last year for the first time,
women earned more than half the degrees granted statewide in every
category, be it associate, bachelor, master, doctoral or
professional.

Cause for celebration, or for concern?

Before you answer, consider the perspective of Jim McCorkell,
founder of Admission Possible, a St. Paul program to help low-income
high school kids prepare for college. Last year, 30% of the students
were boys. This fall, that has inched up to 34%, but only
because . .
"we actually did a little affirmative action," McCorkell says. "If we had a tie (between a male and a female applicant), we gave it to a boy."
As women march forward, more boys seem to be falling by the wayside, McCorkell says. Not only do national statistics forecast a continued decline in the percentage of males on college campuses, but the drops are seen in all races, income groups and fields of study, says policy analyst Thomas Mortenson, publisher of the influential
Postsecondary Education Opportunity newsletter in Oskaloosa, Iowa. Since 1995, he has been tracking ,and sounding the alarm about, the dwindling presence of men in colleges. . .
female college student
There are more men than women ages 18-24 in the USA,15 million vs. 14.2 million, according to a Census Bureau estimate last year. Nationally, the male/female ratio on campus today is 43/57, a reversal from the late 1960s and well beyond the nearly even splits of the mid-1970s.

The trends have developed in plain view, not ignored exactly, but typically accompanied by some version of the question:
Isn't this a sign of women's progress?
Today, though, the blue-collar jobs that once attracted male high school graduates are drying up. More boys are dropping out of high school and out of college. And as the gender gap widens, concern about the educational aspirations of young men appears to be gaining traction, albeit cautiously.

But even as evidence of a problem mounts, "there's a complacency
about this topic," McCorkell says.

There has been no outcry, for example, on the scale of a highly publicized 1992 report by the American Association of University Women, How Schools Short-Change Girls, which compiled reams of research on gender inequities.

That study . .
"really got people to focus on girls (but) there is no big network that protects the needs of boys,"
says family therapist Michael Gurian, author of the just-published The Minds of Boys: Saving Our Sons from Falling Behind in School and Life, which argues that elementary and secondary schools aren't meeting the developmental needs of boys. . .

Yet because of potential conflicts with federal laws created to ensure gender and racial equity, educators "can't target resources to where they see the need," says Deborah Wilds of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which finances college scholarships for underrepresented kids.
"You know that the kids least likely to graduate are a particular gender or ethnic background, but then you have to walk a fine line in how you serve them."
"We think there's value in having equal numbers," says Jim Bock, admissions dean at Pennsylvania's Swarthmore College. Last year, the school admitted more women than men, but it admitted a greater percentage of the male applicants than female. The student body's male/female breakdown is about 48/52. . .

A study this year of admissions processes at 13 liberal arts schools, most with a predominantly female applicant pool, found that gender was "not a significant determinant" in admissions decisions. When a gender preference for men emerged, it occurred at historically female campuses where the share of female applicants had reached 55% or more, authors Sandy Baum and Eban Goodstein say.

The authors neither advocate nor oppose affirmative action, but as men grow shorter in supply,
"we should be talking about whether it's reasonable to give preferences to men,"
says Baum, a Skidmore College professor. . .

For his part, author Gurian says one reason colleges may fail to attract more men is precisely because they are more geared to female learning styles and interests. Colleges that want to compete for the dwindling pool of men should emphasize male interests, such as sports, he says, and offer more male role models.

But meaningful change must take place well before the college years,
says Gurian, who acknowledges a personal interest in the subject: He
has two daughters.
"We all know a boy that's struggling," he says. "If we create a generation of men who aren't getting an education, that's bad for women."

Let the lady speak . .

"The mother of dilemmas"
by Noreen Malone

My mom used to fill out my emergency contact forms with a delightful sense of whimsy. Depending on her mood, she might list her job as genie, savant or enchantress. She finally stopped after the school nurse, looking through my file, excitedly called my mother to ask for advice, since she had described her employment as "psychic friend."

Though my mother's sense of humor was the primary motivation for those false listings, I think perhaps there was a subtle cultural subtext at work there that compelled her to fill in the line for "career." She is a product of the feminist generation, a group of women so proud of breaking through the barriers of the male-dominated workplace that they are sometimes unconsciously condescending toward women like my mother, who decided to forgo a career in order to fully devote herself to raising a family.

The decision of whether or not to give up a career for motherhood is a complicated one. A key tenet of the '70s feminists was that they could have it all-no need to sacrifice either the child-rearing or professional instincts. And many of our mothers did just that. Today, however, our generation is distinctly post-feminist, and the prevailing assumption is that most of the necessary work has already been done to remove gender-motivated impediments to employment. There is a general sense that one is no traitor to her gender if she opts to quit her job to raise a family.

As someone who has reaped the benefits of having a mother who unselfishly sacrificed personal aspirations to be a full-time, exceptional parent, I have always sympathized with this school of thought.

Apparently this conundrum has been on the mind of many college-aged young women, according to a Sept. 20 New York Times article, "Many Women at Elite Colleges Set Career Path to Motherhood." The piece claims that 60 percent of Yale first years` and seniors have already decided they will choose not to work when they have children.

The women quoted were high achievers, with outstanding GPAs and healthy plans for professional paths-these were not gold-diggers attending Yale merely for their M.R.S degree-and they perceived the all-or-nothing option as the best way to carry that high degree of achievement into the realm of motherhood.

My first instinct was to applaud that stance, but then I began to wonder why they were already making such a consequential decision at the age of 18. None were married, engaged or pregnant, so why limit your options before you have to?

The glass ceiling is still in place to a certain degree, largely because many women leave their jobs at pivotal moments to become mothers, and it's difficult to re-enter the workplace. Fewer women make partner in law firms than do men because of this, and last spring's controversy over the dearth of national female columnists showed that fields like writing are affected as well.

I don't think these women should keep their jobs at the expense of children, but no one should enter a career field with the a priori idea that it is just filler until child-rearing. This attitude only results in women cheating themselves out of a meaningful and engaged career.

The Times article also not-so-subtly implied that women at expensive schools like, say, $42,000-a-year Georgetown, were wasting both their tuition dollars and the resources of the school. It all but asked, why devote all that time to mastering Shakespeare and Nietzsche when you're just going to be reading Pat the Bunny in a few years? And why should the college waste its money on someone who won't take their expected place as a "leader?"

This brings to the forefront troubling and pervasive attitudes about both education and motherhood. I have always thought that, although on some level education's point is to teach needed skills, there is a higher purpose, a sort of soul-elevating effect that is particularly implicit in the curriculum of a liberal arts degree. I think an understanding of Shakespeare or Nietzsche deepens your perspective on the world, and a mother benefits from that just as much as a CEO. My own mother is intelligent and well-read, and she never sacrificed intellectual independence. She was a "leader," too-the primary role model for six children.

There is no easy solution to this, no mental Midol that can ease this particular difficulty of womanhood that men biologically sidestep. I had a male advisor ask me once whether I was planning to have children, with the implication being that I shouldn't dream so big if I couldn't wholeheartedly pursue those plans for very long. I refused to answer him, since I have no idea what the answer to that question is, and that's how it should be at my age.

I can set my sights as high as I want right now, and get as many degrees as I want. Whether or not I become a mother or a CEO, none of my education will have been wasted.

The Georgetown Voice, October 20, 2005.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Report from the Front

An article on front page of the opinion section of the Albany Times-Union apparently suffers from a serious lack of any research on the subject . .

Custody fight: Documentary sheds light on system that lets children suffer at the hands of abusive fathers.

Examples include:
  1. He makes no mention at all that MOTHERS abuse children at over 3 times the rate that FATHERS do.
  2. He fails to mention that MOTHERS far and away are more likely to KILL their children than FATHERS.
  3. He ignores the fact that MOTHERS get custody 93% of the time in NY, and, as we all know, FATHERS "settle" out of court with a gun held to their heads. As in settle or you will never see your kids again.
  4. He claims there is a bias against mothers in court when in fact people like Judge Robert Smith, Judge Judith Scheindlin (aka "Judge Judy") and Robert Doar (head of ODTA) have all said this year there is in fact a bias in the NYS family courts AGAINST fathers.
  5. He fails to mention that Domestic Violence (DV) and Child Abuse are involved in less than 5% of divorce cases.
  6. He makes no mention of the fact that DV is in fact gender neutral.
  7. He ignores the HUNDREDS of studies that prove preferring instead to perpetrate related lies.
  8. He simply denies the existence of the battered male.
  9. He makes no mention whatsoever that over 70% of allegations of abuse are FALSE and that they are used to ensure the mother gets custody.
  10. He quotes "facts" with NOTHING to support it.
  11. He claims PAS (parental alienation syndrome) doesn't exist ignoring the fact that 40% of mothers ADMIT to blocking visitation and 50% of mothers see NO NEED for their children to continue to see their father.
  12. He fails to mention that many of us have contacted PBS to demand they pull this show and give equal time to father's rights groups to inform the public of the other side of the story.
  13. He fails to mention that some of the funding for this show comes from women's groups, and that perhaps that's a reason they came to the conclusion they did. Nor does he mention that the producers are known to have an anti-male agenda.
So we now ask Mr. Port why he didn't bother to mention these things. We ask him why he failed to get quotes from those who disagreed with him. We now ask him to prove his facts. We ask him why he apparently failed to do any research whatsoever.

It's time to educate America about what really happens in its family courts rather than spread the hateful propaganda. This needs to be done professionally, and with respect as our families, our society, and our very country are on the line if we don't.

Bob Port: bport@timesunion.com
letters to the editor: tuletters@timesunion.com.
Rex Smith (editor): rsmithg@timesunion.com
Joann Crupi (editor): jcrupi@timesunion.com

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Let the lady speak . .

Rush to the newstand for a copy of the latest copy of The Atlantic (November 2005) to read Caitlin Flanagan's review of Peggy Drexler's book Raising Boys Without Men.

I mean rush!!

Monday, October 17, 2005

The Catholic Court

Pope Benedict XVI (Cardinal Ratzinger)
The U.S. Supreme Court is made up of three Catholic justices--Anthony Kennedy, Antonin Scalia, and (yes) Clarence Thomas--with a Catholic chief justice, John Roberts.

That makes 44% of the high court Catholic compared to only 25% of the nation.

Also over-represented are those of Jewish faith. Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen G. Breyer, comprise 22% of the Court, but their co-religionists make up only 2% of the U.S. as a whole.

Only eleven Catholics have ever served on the Court. The others? William J. Brennan, Pierce Butler, Joseph McKenna, Frank Murphy, Sherman Minton (converted after retirement), Roger B. Taney, and Edward D. White.

Major religions that have never appeared on the Supreme Court include: Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints/Mormons (2% of 2000 U.S. population), Pentecostals (1.8%), Muslims (1.5%), and Eastern Orthodox (1%).

For more see Adherents.com.

"Victim of sexism?"

by Steve Chapman

The people supporting Harriet Miers' Supreme Court nomination, who started out looking defensive, have acquired symptoms of outright desperation.

Rather than strain themselves with the impossible task of justifying the appointment, they are now on the attack. They claim the critics oppose Miss Miers just because she's a woman.
Harriet Miers
In truth, Miss Miers' sex was one of her two attractions for the president -- the other being her canine worship of him. But the complaints about her weak credentials would be made even if she had testosterone coming out of her ears.

Miss Miers, after all, is by any standard the least-qualified Supreme Court nominee since Harry Truman picked his poker buddies. Among conservative women, not known for their prejudice against Republican females, she has drawn reactions ranging from tepid support to withering contempt.

Finding a reason to reject this nomination is about as hard as finding sand at the beach. What's tough is coming up with any rationale that would fool a fourth-grader. Yet a bizarre array of activists have joined in blaming Miss Miers' cold reception on old-fashioned male chauvinism. . .

If this is the best Miss Miers' defenders can do, she must be worse than anyone thought. Conservatives weren't crazy about Ruth Bader Ginsburg when Bill Clinton nominated her to the court, but nobody ever said she lacked the requisite brainpower. Only three Republican senators voted against her, and none on the basis of her IQ.
"In my heart of hearts, I know she'd make a great Supreme Court justice, but it's hard to put into words why." So says Margaret Donahue Hall, a partner at Miss Miers' old law firm, as quoted in The New York Times.

The double standard is not among Miss Miers' opponents but among her supporters. No white male with her resume would be considered for the court. Even G. Harold Carswell, rejected in 1970 because of his ostentatious mediocrity, had spent more than a decade on the federal bench. Clarence Thomas was a federal appeals court judge. Miss Miers has never presided over so much as a traffic case. . .

Excerpted from what appears in The Washington Times, October 17, 2005.

Woman imprisoned for scalping teen

IDAHO CITY, IDAHO -- A woman who scalped a teenage friend for lying about being raped was sentenced to 10 years in prison for felony aggravated battery.

District Judge Kathryn Sticklen on Friday ordered Marianne Dahle, 27, to serve at least four years before she is eligible for parole. Judge Sticklen said she had little confidence that Dahle would seek psychiatric help and avoid harming society on her own.

The January attack left the victim, a 16-year-old identified only as Sheila, physically and emotionally scarred, prosecuting attorney Theresa Gardunia said.

Reported in the The Washington Times, October 17, 2005.

Killer 'Kitsch'

"The 20th century was remarkable not only for the number and scale of the atrocities it witnessed but also for the slowness with which these frightful events were recognized for what they were, let alone condemned. Of these crimes, which began with the mass murders by Lenin and Stalin in the USSR (costing 20 million lives) and continued through the Nazi Holocaust and the democides in China and Cambodia, only the Nazi horror is regularly acknowledged and truly well known.
Mao
"This is particularly the case with the crimes of Mao Zedong. ... China has never repudiated Mao as Khrushchev did Stalin at the [Communist Party] congress of 1956. ... Nor, with honorable exceptions, have Western scholars ever dealt with Mao as at least some did with Lenin and Stalin. Today, no one in his right mind would put a portrait of Hitler in his house. Yet, in many places in the West, Mao kitsch -- posters, badges, busts, and so forth -- is still considered not only acceptable but fashionable."

Arthur Waldron, writing on "Mao Lives," in the October issue of Commentary

Liberal Theory

"What is it about liberals and conservatives that they can both say the same thing but liberals are praised as paragons of enlightenment while conservatives are reviled as green-eyed monsters?

William Bennett was in hot water ... for disputing a theory that a liberal economist has been touting for four years -- that the big drop in crime during the 1990s was a salutary result of legalized abortion.

Steven Levitt, a maverick economist at the University of Chicago, first put forward the theory in a 2001 paper entitled 'The Impact of Legalized Abortion on Crime.' [later included in his book]...
William J. Bennett
Levitt's thesis is that before abortion was legalized in 1973, only affluent women were able to get abortions. ... [After abortion was legalized] poor women could get abortions as well. As Levitt puts it, this allowed 'poor, unmarried teenage mothers' to abort their children. 'They were the very women whose children, if born, would have been much more likely than average to become criminals.'

To liberals, Levitt's argument was a home run. ...

But the theory has blatant racial overtones. Although Levitt never comes out and says it, he is obviously talking about blacks. Blacks are hugely overrepresented among 'poor, unmarried teenage mothers.' ... Anyone who spends five minutes studying crime statistics knows that blacks have violent crime rates five or six times that of whites."

William Tucker, writing on "Scapegoating the Messenger," Oct. 3 in the American Enterprise Online at www.taemag.org

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Condi's Boots "Speak of Sex and Power"

"Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice arrived at the Wiesbaden Army Airfield on Wednesday dressed all in black. She was wearing a black skirt that hit just above the knee, and it was topped with a black coat that fell to mid-calf. The coat, with its seven gold buttons running down the front and its band collar, called to mind a Marine's dress uniform or the "save humanity" ensemble worn by Keanu Reeves in "The Matrix."

As Rice walked out to greet the troops, the coat blew open in a rather swashbuckling way to reveal the top of a pair of knee-high boots. The boots had a high, slender heel that is not particularly practical. But it is a popular silhouette because it tends to elongate and flatter the leg. In short, the boots are sexy.

Rice boldly eschewed the typical fare chosen by powerful American women on the world stage. She was not wearing a bland suit with a loose-fitting skirt and short boxy jacket with a pair of sensible pumps. She did not cloak her power in photogenic hues, a feminine brooch and a non-threatening aesthetic. Rice looked as though she was prepared to talk tough, knock heads and do a freeze-frame "Matrix" jump kick if necessary. Who wouldn't give her ensemble a double take -- all the while hoping not to rub her the wrong way?
Condoleeza Rice
Rice's coat and boots speak of sex and power -- such a volatile combination, and one that in political circles rarely leads to anything but scandal. When looking at the image of Rice in Wiesbaden, the mind searches for ways to put it all into context. It turns to fiction, to caricature. To shadowy daydreams. Dominatrix! It is as though sex and power can only co-exist in a fantasy. When a woman combines them in the real world, stubborn stereotypes have her power devolving into a form that is purely sexual."

Taken from "Condoleezza Rice's Commanding Clothes", by Robin Givhan, Washington Post Staff Writer; Friday, February 25, 2005; Page C01.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

She Didn't Mean It

A woman from the Northeast quadrant of Washington, D.C., who ran over her estranged husband in front of their three children, asked a D.C. Superior Court judge for mercy and got it. Marquetta Jordan, who pled guilty in June to manslaughter, was sentenced to only 6 1/2 years in prison.

I didn't mean for my husband to get hurt," Jordan, 28, told Judge John H. Bayly, Jr. "I don't want to lose my children. Your honor, I just ask for your mercy."

The court's sentencing guidelines recommended a term of 7 1/2 to 15 years in the case. The prosecutor, Assistant U.S. Attorney Thomas A. DiBiase, asked for a sentence at the high end of those guidelines, arguing that the plea agreement was itself a measure of leniency and that Jordan merited no further consideration.

From The Washington Post, October 15, 2005.

For This She Must Apologize?

Chauvinism: the new feminism
Defending old time charm in the modern age

by Clare Malone

Twelve-year-old boys find me sexy, and they aren't afraid to let me know it. My fellow female lifeguards and I were constantly propositioned this summer by hordes of pre-pubescent punks. Despite their initial creepiness, I had to give the boys kudos for their ingenuity. It takes a real man to walk up to a woman, hand her a sugar packet and proclaim, "Hey baby, I think you lost your nametag." These boys are part of a dying breed-the few, the proud, the ballsy souls who actually use pickup lines to "bag hot chicks."
micro bikini
Back in the day (or so I've learned from Bogart flicks) any schlub could walk into a bar, order a highball, address the blonde next to him as "babycakes," smoke a ciggie and walk out with the lady on his arm. Nowadays, it is de rigueur for women to scorn men who pull stunts like this, calling it degrading and offensive when a man tells us with undiluted honesty that we look "mm-mm good."

Don't get me wrong; I'm a big proponent of female empowerment and inevitably reap the benefits. We deserve the same opportunities, pay and respect as men. Conditions for women have improved dramatically in the last 30 years thanks to feminism. But in our struggle for equality, we have lost some of the small niceties that were once bestowed upon us by the opposite sex. Guys rarely open doors for me or take off their hat when I enter a room. As a liberated woman, I put up with this, and always split the check (even though I know Bogie would never make his lady pay).

I cannot stand the irritating subtleties of dating and find the direct approach of the pickup line rather refreshing. If I think you look good too, I might tell you.

I'll admit, the guys who use lines are a type not usually found in the urbane environment of Georgetown. The men here are too sophisticated to tell a woman she's "like milk 'cause she does a body good." Most of these guys don't even imbibe real cow's milk, instead opting for the South Beach-friendly "non-dairy soy options."

But sometimes, all a girl needs to hear is a simple compliment. Sure, it's cheesy and, when shouted at you from a car, a little skeezy, but deep down it's a comfort to us to know we've got it goin' on. Georgetown boys wear Jackie O sunglasses, rock man capris and use products in their hair. I couldn't date half the boys here because they are better dressed than I and can pull off pastels more gracefully.

The guys I knew in high school did not "dress" for class. They were the breed of men that only wears t-shirts obtained for free from all-you-can-eat burrito bars and insists that pants don't need to be washed since they're just going to be sat on. It is this type who can teach the rest of the male population how to pull off the classic pickup line. They are just scruffy enough to make you feel pretty, just goofy enough to keep them from being creepy and wear just the right amount of Axe cologne to signal that they are out to impress you.

The purpose of the feminist movement was to liberate women from societal constraints, not to create new standards we must live up to. I'm no traitor to my sex because I find the occasional come-on endearing; I'm putting my feminist beliefs into action by not repressing my enjoyment of a clever overture. My quest to revive the pickup line is unconventionally feminist but motivated by the same sentiments that inspire my bra-burning sisters. When a guy stares into your eyes and asks if you fell from heaven, your heart skips a beat-you're just not woman enough to admit it.

From The Georgetown Voice, October 13, 2005.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

"Just As Soon Have a Guy"

from a column by Tina Brown in the The Washington Post, October 13, 2005.

The healthiest aspect of the Harriet Miers nomination is that women haven't rallied to her cause. Ten years ago, there would have been a lot of reflexive solidarity about keeping the Sandra Day O'Connor spot on the Supreme Court from reverting to male type. But every female lawyer I've spoken with in the past week skips right past the sisterly support into a rant about Miers's meager qualifications or her abject obeisance to power. . .
Maggie Thatcher

It's easy to forget that Margaret Thatcher--whose "Don't go wobbly on me, George" famously stiffened the spine of Bush One before the Persian Gulf War in 1990--was there first . . England's Iron Lady celebrates her 80th birthday tonight with a guest list dominated by the adoring circle of powerful male admirers whose loyalty she rewarded with seats in the House of Lords when she was prime minister.

Happy Birthday, Lady T--and hail to you and all the women who've gone before! You won us the freedom to say that if opting for a Harriet Miers means we risk getting not just a sycophant but a stem-cell-banning, abortion-denying, Bible-thumping presidential sycophant, maybe we'd just as soon have a guy.

In the Stars

Harriet Miers is a Leo. According to Linda Goodman that means she's not really a woman at all but a man disguised as one. That certainly shows in her career. And in her inability to keep a man around long enough to marry one--a common difficulty with Leo women who tend to run them off (because they're just too forceful in that masculine way).

Leo women show great respect for masculine abilities, and can show disdain for the feminine. They are, after all, men at heart.
lioness

Having said that, a paradoxically interesting feature of the Leo woman is that she often ends up showing other women how to act, what to wear, etc. Ethel Barrymore set fashion on both sides of the Atlantic (without even trying). Madonna taught all little girls to bear the midriff, among other things. Many of them report having technicolor dreams about her. Jacqueline Kennedy set fashion--hair, hats, dresses, you name it. She was a First Lady for the books in the glamor--"Please show us how to act!"--department. Martha Stewart dedicates her life to showing women how to run the home and be the best women they can be.

So what do we have in Harriet Miers? A woman who might respect the intellectual powers of the likes of Clarence Thomas and Antonin Scalia and borrow from their lead. But also a woman who might see as her role to show the women of America a better way--by saying "No!" to abortion, by following in the footsteps of Christ, etc.

'Come to Jesus'

What if W. had a little 'come to Jesus' talk with Harriet prior to, saying essentially: "We both know you haven't established yourself judicially yet, but you have a chance to learn from two of the greatest minds in jurisprudence: Clarence Thomas and Antonin Scalia. Why don't you just watch them do their thing for awhile, go along with them at first, then when you get get the hang of things for yourself set off on your own."

Jesus the shepherd

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

'All Men Are Bastards Knife Block'

All Men Are Bastards knife block

"Well, isn't this the best knife block you've ever seen in your life? Forget bland polished beech, this is award winning stuff. Designed by the Italian design guru Raffaele Iannello, the 'Voodoo' - or as we like to call it the 'All Men Are Bastards' knife block, is destined to find its place among the greats in the top design museums of the world. It comes complete with a set of 5 stainless steel knives: a paring knife; bread knife; carving knife and a large and small chopping knife. Each of the five knives is held in place by a small magnet in the body, and the blades are protected at the rear by a frosted plastic sleeve. Brilliant design, superb humour, what more could you want in your kitchen (and wouldn't it make the ultimate present for any number of occasions)."


From iwantoneofthose.com.

Monday, October 10, 2005

Hide the Cutlery

red rubber ballNEW YORK -- A 9-year-old girl pleaded guilty to second-degree manslaughter Friday, admitting she fatally stabbed her 11-year-old playmate after a tug-of-war over a rubber ball. The girl, identified by the city as Shanice K., admitted she stabbed Queen Washington once in the chest at a Memorial Day gathering in Brooklyn, the city said in a statement after the proceeding.

The Washington Post, October 9, 2005.

Friday, October 07, 2005

Doctor's Rights

"[W]e can, once again, look forward to hundreds of questions all designed to elicit the same answer: What does [Supreme Court nominee Harriet] Miers think of Roe v. Wade? . .
Harriet Miers

"Given Roe's centrality, not only to the law, but also to our entire culture, it's worthwhile to understand what Roe's author, Justice Harry Blackmun, intended its reach to be . .

"Blackmun saw laws banning all abortions as infringements on the doctor's rights, not the woman's. . . To Blackmun, Roe was about vindicating the 'the right of the physician to administer medical treatment according to his professional judgment." . . And at the time, Chief Justice [Warren] Burger predicted that Roe would not have 'sweeping consequences.' . .

"[Maybe] some of the senators will see, as much of the public is beginning to see, that Roe is a misbegotten, badly reasoned decision that we are better off without."

Charles Colson, writing on "The Accidental Touchstone," Tuesday at www.pfm.org (as quoted in "The Washington Times", October 7, 2005.)

She Speaks for Diversity

Maureen Dowd". . There are only so many supremely powerful jobs to give to women who are not qualifed to get them. . . First he elevated Condi Rice to secretary of state, even though she had bungled her job as national security adviser, failing to bring a sense of urgency to warnings about terrorism aimed at America before 9/11, and acting more as an enabler than honest broker in the push to invade Iraq. . . Then he elevated his longtime aide, speechwriter, memoir ghostwriter and cheerleader Karen Hughes to under secretary of state for public diplomacy, although it is exceedingly hard for the 6-foot Texan to try and spin a billion Muslims whom she doesn't understand the first thing about. . . But who cares about her lack of expertise in such a critical job . . ? And now he has nominated his White House counsel and former personal lawyer, Harriet Miers to a crucial swing spot on the Supreme Court. . . [W]ho cares whether she has no judicial experience, and that no one knows what she believes or how she would rule from a bench she's never been behind . . ?"

Maureen Dowd from "All the President's Women", The New York Times editorial section, October 5, 2005.

Inhumyn?

"The Maoist Internationalist Movement (MIM) is the collection of existing or emerging Maoist internationalist parties in the English-speaking imperialist countries and their English-speaking internal semi-colonies, as well as the existing or emerging Maoist International parties in Belgium, France and Quebec and the existing or emerging Spanish-speaking Maoist Internationalist parties of Aztlan, Puerto Rico and other territories of the U.$. Empire. MIM Notes is the newspaper of MIM. Notas Rojas is the newspaper of the Spanish-speaking parties or emerging parties of MIM. MIM upholds the revolutionary communist ideology of Marxism-Leninism-Maoism and is an internationalist organization that works from the vantage point of the Third World proletariat. MIM struggles to end the oppression of all groups over other groups: classes, genders, nations. MIM knows this is only possibly (sic) by building public opinion to seize power through armed struggle. (emphasis added) Revolution is a reality for North American as the military becomes over-extended in the government's attempts to maintain world hegemony.

MIM differs from other communist parties on three main questions:
  1. MIM holds that after the proletariat seizes power in socialist revolution, the potential exists for capitalist restoration under the leadership of a new bourgeoisie within the communist party itself.

    • In the case of the USSR, the bourgeoisie seized power after the death of Stalin in 1953;
    • in China, it was after Mao's death and overthrow of the "Gang of Four" in 1976.
  2. MIM upholds the Chinese Cultural Revolution as the farthest advance of communism in humyn history. (emphasis added)
  3. As Marx, Engels and Lenin formulated and MIM has reiterated through materialist analysis, imperialism extracts super-profits from the Third World and in part uses this wealth to buy off whole populations of oppressor nation so-called workers.
These so-called workers bought off by imperialism form a new petty-bourgeoisie called the labor aristocracy. These classes are not the principal vehicles to advance Maoism within those countries because their standards of living depend on imperialism. At this time, imperialist super-profits create this situation in the (sic) Canada, Quebec, the United $tates, England, France Belgium, Germany, Japan, Italy, Switzerland, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Israel, Sweden and Denmark. MIM accepts people as members who agree on these basic principles and accept democratic centralism, the system of majority rule, on other questions of party line."
"The theory of Marx, Engels, Lenin and Stalin is universally applicable. We should regard it not as dogma, but as a guide to action. Studying it is not merely a matter of learning terms and phrases, but of learning Marxism-Leninism as the science of revolution." -- Mao Zedong, Selected Works, Vol.II, p. 208.

From MIM Notes "The Official Newsletter of the Maoist Internationalist Movement" ISSN 1540-8817; MIM, P.O. Box 29670, Los Angeles, CA 90029-0670; mim@mim.org, http://www.etext.org/Politics/MIM.

Mao poster

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Let the lady speak . .

As a former girl, it comes as no surprise to me that girls can be vicious, vindictive, spiteful and sneaky. But in my girlhood, we hurled brick-a-brats, not baseball bats.

Sure, there were female playground bullies who threatened to beat you up. But physical violence was not the weapon of choice for teenage girls. It was so much easier and nastier to shun your enemy, ruin her reputation and turn other girls against her than to punch her lights out.

Not anymore. At a recent Montgomery County high school football game, one teen girl stabbed another after an altercation that included punches and a baseball bat. Fifteen-year-old Kanisha Neal died in the fight.

The fight was no isolated incident. Crimes of violence committed by girls are on the increase. According to a national study published in 2000, 10 percent of gang members in the country are girls. What's more, girl gangs are proliferating in our area.

"They're very violent. I mean, very violent. They're always out, looking for fights," says Bridget Miller of the D.C. Youth Gang Task Force.


Adapted from Leslie Milk's column in The Washington Examiner, October 5, 2005.

Girl Gang

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

"Archfiend of the Century"

woman in black ski maskProsecutors say Elsa D. Newman, 52, became so desperate after losing the custody fight that she plotted with a close friend, State Department employee Margery Lemb Landry, to kill her husband, Arlen J. Slobodow.

While Newman was out of town at a wedding, Landry broke into Slobodow's home in Bethesda early Jan. 7, 2002, while Slobodow was sleeping in a bed with his 5-year-old son, and shot Slobodow in the leg.

Landry escaped in the subsequent struggle, but Slobodow was able to tear off the ski mask covering her face and called police. He survived the attack.

After pleading guilty in September 2002, Landry was sentenced to 20 years in prison. In a previous trial, Newman was convicted and also sentenced to 20 years in prison. But the Maryland Court of Appeals ordered a retrial in December, on the grounds that the trial court improperly compelled testimony by Stephen Friedman, who at one point served as Newman's divorce attorney.

They are still trying to prove that Newman and Landry planned the attempted killing together, after accusing Slobodow of abusing his two sons. Police found no evidence to support the abuse charges.

"Elsa Newman wanted Arlen Slobodow to die," Montgomery County Deputy State's Attorney Katherine S. Winfree said. "She couldn't bear to lose custody of her children."


Winfree introduced a witness, Sandra Ashley, who was a legal assistant to Friedman. Ashley testified that Newman met her at a Ruth's Chris Steak House in Bethesda before the attack and described the plan Newman and Landry had made to kill Slobodow.

As the lawyers argued, Newman took notes on a canary-colored legal pad. During a short recess, Newman walked over to one of her attorneys and asked a question. The lawyer warned her, in a friendly manner, that she would lose her attorney-client privilege because a reporter was standing nearby.

"What haven't I lost?" she replied. "I'm the archfiend of the century."


SOURCE: Washington Post, September 28, 2005.

Saturday, October 01, 2005

Folger Theatre Ad

"Turn him, burn him, ravage him, and then marry him."

Supposedly taken from The Game of Love and Chance by Pierre de Marivaux, but it doesn't seem to fit into the plot.