libera voce/libera mente

"free voice, free mind"

Thursday, December 13, 2007

How Ladylike

Drunkenly dancing on tables or collapsing in the street used to be a source of acute embarrassment for young women the morning after the night before.

Today, they are more likely to boast about it - to the world, with pictures - on social networking sites.

More than 150,000 girls have signed up to Facebook's online forum "30 Reasons Girls Should Call It A Night", where they openly discuss the various states of inebriation - and undress - they have found themselves in.

Among those included in nearly 5,000 images which have been posted on the website is young blonde Jennifer Rentfrow, who was caught kneeling over a toilet after a night out.

Other images show friends Claire Munday and Zoe Bates sleeping on a dance floor, while Ashley Spellmeyer is shown sleeping in the bath.

Other young women can be seen being sick on themselves, falling into bushes, answering a call of nature in public or inadvertently exposing themselves.

These include having no idea where your friends are, slurring your words so badly no one can understand what you are saying, having make-up "smeared all over your face" and passing out.

A topic group on the website entitled "Funniest/Stupidest s*** you did while drunk" allows members to post details of their binge-drinking antics.

Katie O'Connor, from Manchester, wrote: "A few days ago on a birthday night out I was absolutely ratted - and upon entering an 80's club, offered to flash the DJ my left b*** if he'd play 'Never gonna give you up'."

Lindsay Gordon, a student at Canterbury Christ Church University, wrote: "Pole dancing on lamp posts is always a good laugh." A recent Government-commissioned study found one in five 15-year-olds now drinks the equivalent of almost a bottle of wine a week.

Figures from the Office for National Statistics last month revealed twice as many young women are dying from alcohol abuse as 15 years ago.

An increasing number of young people are now being diagnosed with life-threatening conditions such as cirrhosis of the liver.

Alcohol Concern yesterday warned the Facebook site was "symptomatic of the culture of acceptability around drunkenness".

Spokesman Frank Soodeen added:
"There are the obvious mishaps young people get into but this doesn't act as a disincentive because it provides excellent material for anecdotes. People are perfectly happy to post these sorts of pictures because they recognize that alcohol-related embarrassment will actually improve their social standing."
- - - - - -
From 'The ladettes who glorify their shameful drunken antics on Facebook', an article by ANDREW LEVY appearing November 5, 2007 in the Daily Mail.

A Smart Girl's Guide To Sticky Situations: How To Tackle Tricky, Icky Problems And Tough Times

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

'It had to do with Cuba and missiles'

Appearing on National Public Radio's light-hearted quiz show "Wait, Wait . . . Don't Tell Me," which aired over the weekend, White House Press Secretary Dana Perino got into the spirit of things and told a story about herself that she had previously shared only in private: During a White House briefing, a reporter referred to the Cuban Missile Crisis -- and she didn't know what it was.
"I was panicked a bit because I really don't know about . . . the Cuban Missile Crisis. It had to do with Cuba and missiles, I'm pretty sure."
said Perino, who at 35 was born about a decade after the 1962 U.S.-Soviet nuclear showdown.

So she consulted her best source.
"I came home and I asked my husband," she recalled. "I said, 'Wasn't that like the Bay of Pigs thing?' And he said, 'Oh, Dana.'"

From a Washington Post article by Peter Baker appearing Monday, December 10, 2007.

Thirteen Days: A Memoir of the Cuban Missile Crisis

Monday, December 10, 2007


An entire subculture of people (usually angsty teens) with a fake personality. The concept of emo is actually a vicious cycle that never ends, to the utter failing of humanity, and it goes something like this:

1. Girls say they like "sensitive guys" (lie)

2. Guy finds out, so he listens to faggy emo music and dresses like a dork so chicks will see that he is sensitive and not afraid to express himself (lie). He dyes his hair black, wraps himself in a stupid looking scarf, develops an eating disorder, and rants about how "nobody understands".

3. Now an emo guy, he meets emo chick and they start dating, talking about how their well-off suburban lifestyles are terrible and depressing (lie)

4. Emo guy is just too much of a pussy. His penis is too small, he's too depressed to bathe, and has more mood swings than emo chick, and he doesn't even have a menstrual cycle. Emo chick dumps him, saying "It's not you, it's me." (lie) as she drives off with Wayne, the school jock and captain of the football team.

5. Emo guy goes home and cries, proceeds to write a weak song and strum a single string on his acoustic guitar. Another emo chick sees how he is so in touch with his feelings, and the cycle continues.

This is the sad truth of the emo lifestyle/music, and now that I look at how pathetic it really is, maybe the emos DO have something to cry about!
"When she sees how sensitive and emo I have become, she'll definitely go out with me!"

Urban Dictionary

Boys Behaving Girly

guyliner: Eyeliner for guys, no longer only for homosexuals, which is becoming surprisingly popular in today's society. (Urban Dictionary)
manbag: male handbag.
mandals:(Urban Dictionary)
manny: male nanny. (Urban Dictionary)
murse: male nurse (or purse). (Urban Dictionary)
himbo: male bimbo. (Urban Dictionary)

From Rachel Beckman's 'Eyeliner for Men?! Pencil These Guys In.' in The Washington Post December 10, 2007.

Taken Into Custody

Of the myriad forms of discrimination men cite, one looms over the rest: The egregious treatment meted out to fathers in the throes of contested child custody following the "no-fault" divorces most of them did not initiate or desire. My files bulge with stories of disenfranchised fathers ripped from their children's arms and lives. They have lost their homes, their careers, fortunes, friends and reputations, often on the basis of false allegations of abuse (for which their female accusers are virtually never punished). I wouldn't mention such anecdotal evidence, if the anguish in these testimonials didn't jibe with objective data confirming the shameful gender bias that dominates the family law system.

Women Divorce, Men Commit Suicide

Women are twice as likely to initiate a divorce as men, largely because they can be fairly sure they'll end up with control of the children. Where shared parenting is the default template, divorce rates plummet. Men are six times as likely as women to commit suicide within the first two years after a separation. That they kill themselves from despair rather than their ex-wives for revenge is, ironically, a tragically eloquent rebuttal to the feminist credo that men are inherently dangerous to women.

Decisions Favor Women

Although 25% of women make more money than their spouses, 97% of support payers are men (even in cases of shared parenting). Mobility decisions favor women: The psychological comfort to a Vancouver mother of moving near her Toronto-based family will be privileged over the psychological devastation the virtual loss of his children causes the Vancouver-bound father.

Children Property of Women

Misandry in family law begins with an ideology that views children as the property of women, even though many peer-reviewed studies show children want and need both parents, and no studies show sole parenting by a mother serves children's best interests. This ideology is instilled in judges during training sessions featuring feminism-driven materials, and subsequently often plays out as unaccountable kangaroo courts.

'Deadbeat Dad'

The result is that an adversarial mother who initiates a divorce against the will of the father--however indifferent her parenting skills, however superb his and even if the children spend their days with nannies or day care workers--pretty well has a lock on sole custody of the children. If she denies rightful access to the father, she will never be punished at all. Conversely, if he withholds money, he will be criminalized: His picture as a "deadbeat dad" may appear on government-sanction ed Internet sites, and if he goes to jail, as is likely, he will serve a longer sentence than cocaine dealers.

Do Not Marry

In his new, cleverly titled book, "Taken into Custody", Stephen Baskerville, president of the American Coalition for Fathers and Children, paints a bleak picture of the routine injustice a divorcing father can expect when a woman initiates a divorce. Baskerville baldly warns:
"If I have one urgent piece of practical advice for young men today, it is this: Do not marry and do not have children."
His book, like many others of the genre, makes a persuasive case. Men should read them. If the system does not become equitable, don't be surprised if men choose increasingly, and with reason, to play their trump card: Voting for equality with their condoms.

From 'The plight of divorced dads' by Barbara Kay, Saturday, December 08, 2007, National

Stephen Baskerville, PhD
Assistant Professor of Government
Patrick Henry College
1 Patrick Henry Circle
Purcellville, Virginia 20132

American Coalition for Fathers & Children
1718 M Street, NW, Suite 187
Washington, DC 20036

Lord of the Court

"Lord of the Dance" star Michael Flatley has been awarded an $11 million settlement against Tyna Robertson, the Joliet woman who accused Flatley of rape in 2002, according to published reports.

The settlement was reached Friday after the California Supreme Court ruled that accusations of rape made by Robertson, who has a son with Chicago Bear Brian Urlacher, were not credible, and part of an extortion scheme, the BBC and London's Daily Mail reported Saturday.

Robertson filed a civil lawsuit against Flatley in 2003, alleging that the Irish-American dance star had raped her in a Las Vegas hotel the year before. Flatley said the sex was consensual.

After Robertson's lawsuit was tossed out, Flatley countered with a $100 million countersuit against Robertson and her attorney, D. Dean Mauro of Waukegan, for civil extortion and defamation. In it, Flatley accused Mauro of threatening to ruin him by making the rape allegations public, unless Flatley paid Robertson $1 million.

Robertson, who could not be reached for comment Saturday, has denied involvement in any such scheme. Mauro also was unavailable for comment Saturday.

But in 2004, Mauro's attorney told the Sun-Times Mauro was trying to settle the rape case without going to trial, not blackmail Flatley.

Flatley, meanwhile, is quoted by the BBC as "very pleased" by the settlement. "The court sent a message that it will not tolerate these types of schemes," Flatley said.

An ex-stripper turned real estate agent, Robertson has a history of legal battles with famous men. Most recently, she tangled with Urlacher in a messy custody battle over their son, Kennedy.

Chicago Sun-Times, December 9, 2007.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Omaha, Columbine, and the Vietnamization of Masculinity

by Warren Farrell, Ph.D.

An Omaha or a Columbine makes us cry out, "What's making our children kill?" In fact, it is not our children who are killing. It is our sons.

Why? Pundits compete: "It's violence in the media"; "it's the availability of handguns"; "it's poor family values". But our daughters are of the same family's values, also exposed to violence in the media, also able to find the same guns in the same homes. And our daughters are not killing.

What distinguishes our sons' lives from our daughters'? A lot.

Start With Suicide

Start with suicide. Each boy who kills is also committing suicide. People who commit suicide generally have four things in common: they feel either no one loves them or really respects them; that no one needs them; that there's little hope of that changing; and they feel they can't discuss their feelings about this without being mocked or making things worse.

It is that last characteristic in particular that is especially common among male adolescents. Boys and girls at the age of 9 are equally likely to commit suicide; by the age of 14, boys are twice as likely; by 19, four times as likely; by 24, six times. Both the male role and suicide are highly correlated with the repression of emotions. A Columbine or an Omaha may be prevented in the future by reporting boys' gun-related jokes or shadow-side fantasies. But that's only telling boys to express their feelings so we can control the feelings they express. What we repress in one place will pop up in another. Unless we care enough to be boy-sensitive at the deepest level.

Being Boy-Sensitive

Being boy-sensitive challenges our genetic heritage. For millennia societies that survived prepared their sons for disposability in war, or as workers. We have an unconscious investment in readying our boys for disposability- -which is why no one questions male-only draft registration of our sons at eighteen. And why parents often cheer sons playing football who are learning to call physical abuse glory even as our daughters learn to call the police. Before we can find boys' inner world, we must decide what we want to emerge from their cocoon: a gun or a butterfly.

Instead, our sons are experiencing the Vietnamization of masculinity. In Vietnam, we condemned only our sons for what we drafted only our sons to do. Today our sons face a Catch-22: they see the football players being cheered for even as we condemn their macho. The doctors and dotcommers are still considered most eligible for love, but often their focus on work and money does not make them lovable. The Vietnamization of our sons is rewarding them for playing the old role and condemning them for having the mentality the old roles breed.

Love and Sex

Suicide is also correlated with the failure to feel loved or needed. There is no area in which young teenage boys feel more vulnerable than in love and sex. Robert Hawkins, like Charles Andy Williams of the Santee killings, had just broken up with his girlfriend. Boy-sensitive programs in our schools would also be sensitive to the nature of our sons' vulnerabilities in love and sex.

Emotional Traumas

What would boy-sensitivity look like? It would question our daughters now having the option to initiate even as only our sons still have the expectation. Most boys soon learn that by the Junior or Senior year the more attractive girls are doing less and less of the initiating. We still say sex is dirty, and still expect our sons to initiate the dirt. Yet, when our sons know little about either girls or sex, they are expected not only to risk sexual rejection, but lectured about their penis transmitting STD's; they fear going too slowly and being a wimp or loser; or going too quickly and being a date rapist. They have most of the old role, many new expectations and very few programs focused on either encouraging our daughters to share responsibility for sexual rejection or guiding our sons through the emotional traumas induced by their old role with new demands.

Suicide is decreasing for our daughters as we increase our daughters' ways of succeeding; it is increasing for our sons as we increase our sons' ways of failing. Our schools are focused on raising the self-esteem of girls, on special programs for girls in math and science, on scholarships for females only. But it is our sons who are more likely to have ADHD, be loners, anti-social, and have run-ins with the law, like Robert Hawkins... Any parent knows that if we pay attention to one child and ignore the other, there is no question that the ignored child will act out; the only questions are how and when.

Good guidance begins with the guide. The Vietnamization of masculinity has produced mixed messages and confused sons. When we care as much about saving males as saving whales, we will also save ourselves. When we seek to find boys' inner world, we will give a gift to our sons in the 21st Century that we gave to our daughters in the 20th Century.

Dr. Warren Farrell's books include Why Men Are the Way They Are,and Why Men Earn More.He has taught at the School of Medicine at the University of California, San Diego and currently lives with his wife and daughters in Mill Valley, California, and virtually at For interviews, contact Dr. Warren Farrell at 415/259-6343, or

Looking at His Girlfriend

No sooner had I suggested in my Wednesday column this week (December 5, 2007) that the annual Montreal Massacre tributes were a divisive social force, demonizing men and justifying women’s contempt for them as a gender, than a perfect example of the syndrome was enacted in the House of Commons.

New Democrat Member of Parliament Irene Mathyssen looked over the shoulder of Conservative MP, James Moore where he sat in the front row of the government benches Tuesday night, and saw what seemed to her to be a seductively dressed woman on the screen of his laptop computer. This is his personal computer, you understand, so her inspection of his screen was tantamount to viewing his private papers or mail, and she had not asked permission or been invited to look at it. Just so we’re clear on the principle.

OK, so let’s start again. Ms Mathyssen was eavesdropping on Mr. Moore. She didn’t know who the “scantily clad” woman on the screen was, but having brooded on the possibilities overnight, then rose the next day on a point of privilege to allege he was viewing inappropriate material. The implication in such an allegation, let’s be clear, is that the man is a pervert. As a result a mortified Moore was forced to issue a public denial that he was looking at pornography. Turns out it was his girlfriend. Oops, my bad, Ms Mathyssen realizes, so she calls Mr. Moore and apologizes. Case closed for her.

But perhaps not for Mr. Moore. He just got put through a bit of a wringer for nothing.

Let’s unpack this incident a bit. What Member of Parliament would be so idiotic as to take the risk of visiting a porn site in the House of Commons on a computer whose screen is open to any busybody? What was Ms Mathyssen’s motive in “outing” him when she had no evidence to support her supposition? Scantily clad women are all over the Internet and also all over real life. Scantily clad is in fact the norm in fashion.

What would Ms Mathyssen have done if she happened to look over the shoulder of a female MP and actually did see soft porn? Would she rise on a point of personal privilege to humiliate a woman colleague? I think not. I think she would have protected her. And let's not pretend that women never look at porn. Ms Mathyssen clearly relished the opportunity to embarrass a man caught in the act of being a typical man according to the feminist playbook.

Mr. Moore is a victim of a false allegation, whose effects will linger. Because of the hoopla around the Montreal massacre (a completely random act with no sequel), everyone believes women are always the victim in gender relations. If people knew how many men’s lives have been ruined by false allegations of abuse by women, leveled with exactly the kind of insouciance exhibited by Ms Mathyssen, that goes completely unpunished even when it is proved to be false, they might rethink their basic assumptions about who is getting the short end of the stick gender-wise.

Ms Mathyssen should not be let off the hook easily. She supposedly represents both men and women in her riding. If she had so gratuitously insulted a woman, the matter would not go away quickly. The men in her riding would do well to ask themselves if she truly has their interests at heart to the same degree as she has women’s. They should call her to account on her biases, and her vindictiveness and insensitivity toward Mr. Moore should definitely be a factor in their minds at the next election., Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, "False allegations claim another male victim, this time MP James Moore" by Barbara Kay, December 07, 2007.

Guilty- Until Proven Innocent: Teachers and Accusations of Abuse

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Male Bashing from Verizon

Who Stole Feminism?: How Women Have Betrayed Women

Male Bashing Ads

Male Bashing: Women's Favorite Pastime

Bill Maher on Feminism

Feminist Fantasies

Anti-Male Ads in Israel

Feminists Say the Darndest Things: A Politically Incorrect Professor Confronts "Womyn" on Campus

Woman-Only World

Does Feminism Discriminate against Men?: A Debate (Point/Counterpoint)

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

The Surviving Dads Of Ads

Many advertisements tick Glenn Sacks off these days. Take the one from Kohler that shows a man trying to stop up his toilet so he'll have an excuse to summon the hottie (female) plumber whose van is parked across the street.

Then, there's the Pizza Hut ad that features a father "cooking" for his kids—by ordering out.

But Sacks' beef has little to do with the creative quality of these spots. Instead, he comes at it from the angle that our sibling publication Adweek has characterized as "bizarre." Those commercials, Sacks says, are "anti-father."

Dad Acting Like Twit

Sacks, who's a columnist, radio commentator and blogger, got Adweek's attention in February when he led an effort to try to keep the firm of Arnold, Boston, from maintaining the Volvo account during a review. Sacks took issue with Arnold ads for Fidelity Investments that showed a dad jumping up and down like a twit after beating his daughter in ping pong. (Arnold kept the Volvo account; Sacks deems the new Volvo ads inoffensive.)

McDonald's Anti-Dad

Sacks isn't the only one making this case. Mark Penn's book Microtrends, a survey of emerging demographic and psychographic groups, includes a chapter on "Neglected Dads." Penn charts the course of McDonald's, which figured out early on that marketing directly to kids could increase the bottom line (not to mention those kids' bottoms). But sometime in the mid 1990s, "moms started paying more attention to what their children ate." That led to initiatives like 2004's "McMom," which includes an online newsletter with tips on parenting.

Yet at a recent company retreat, Penn pointed out to McDonald's execs that since the 1970s, fathers have been spending more time with their kids. In fact, in 1997, dads living at home spent 65% as much time in the company of their progeny during the week as their mothers did, and 87% as much time on the weekends, per a University of Michigan study.

Penn continues: "This is serious father-child interaction time, say the researchers—which means meals. But where is the McDad initiative? Who's targeting the volunteer coaches who need a place to take the kids after Saturday's practice?"

Penn goes on to demand Daddy-and-me books and back-to-school clothing ads targeted at fathers.

Subverting Fathers' Power

If marketers take Penn up on his offer, they'll be reversing years of not just neglect, but scorn—at least if you agree with cultural analyst and NYU professor Mark Crispin Miller. Miller's theory is that since the 1950s advertisers have been scheming to subvert fathers' power.

Recall that fathers in the '50s were children during the Depression. Wooing dad—often tight with the cash—was not the way to go. So, most advertisers (except for makers of big-ticket items like cars) not only ignored fathers, they elevated mothers and children above their heads with ads showing who was really pulling the family purse strings.

Over time, programmers picked up on the switch as well: stolid figures like Ward Cleaver morphed into the Bill Cosby of the '80s who often came off as an overgrown man-child next to the witty-and-wise maternal oligarch, Phylicia Rashad.

Man Always the Idiot

The trend, if anything, has gotten worse. Comedy flicks like Knocked Up or any screen fare featuring Will Ferrell typically feature wise, understanding women falling for men who act like 12-year-olds. Sure, it's funny, but it's also hard to argue that guys like Sacks don't have a point.
"I understand they want to make funny commercials. But why does the man always have to be the idiot?"

Hope in Ford

Sacks isn't totally discouraged though. He was buoyed by a recent ad for the 2008 Ford Taurus that likened the automakers to the spot's upstanding father shown buying the car for the same child that we see him teaching (in flashbacks) how to ride a bike. And Sacks also sees progress in a Disney kiddie show where, for once, the father isn't made out to be a clueless idiot or non-presence.

From an article by Todd Wasserman appearing in Brandweek on November 12, 2007.

Wisdom of Our Fathers: Lessons and Letters from Daughters and Sons

The Best We Got

Stunningly attractive, hugely talented, massive celebrity power, that blonde-hair-blue eyes German-American look that's our standard.

She's the best we got.

So too is she a huge ditz--isn't that the American girl standard, too? She's a massive drunk--standard again? And she's generally a mess, like the rest of American Womanhood.

Send a Card to a Soldier

If you go to you can pick out a thank you card, Xerox will print it, and it will be sent to a soldier currently serving in Iraq.

The cards are all drawn by grade-school kids across the country. You have to see them to believe them.

You can't pick out who gets your card, but it will go to some member of the armed services.

How nice it would be if everyone sent just one.

Send a card. It's free and it only takes a second.

(And it might leave you crying like a child like it did me.)

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Year of Funny Names

Americans have historically elected men to the presidency who sport typical British Isle names, almost regal in resonance. Exceptions have been few.

Even with the sprinkling of Irishman, i.e., Buchanan, Kennedy, Reagan, the names were rather high-falutin', helping them to escape McDom. McKinley really sounds too monumental to qualify, and his family traced their origins from the regal MacDuff, Thane of Fife.

Many of our presidents have in fact drawn their lineage back to royalty on the Isles, no matter how many generations back.

Eisenhower might be considered the exception that proves the rule: a German who beat the Germans at war, elected from a nation whose backbone is largely German (20-25% of Americans consider themselves to be of German extraction).

So what to make of this year's crop of candidates?

In the Most Unlikely to Earn a Single Vote West of the Mississippi category, we must rank Mayor Rudy Giuliani highly. He's already a fast-talking New Yorker, did he have to have an "i" on the end of his name, too? Wasn't too long ago you had one of those (or an "a" or an "o") and you were considered a mobster. The fact that he fought Italian gangsters as prosecutor might just help, but don't bet on it.

Tom Tancredo might suffer the same fate as Giuliani at the ballot box, for he too is of Italian ancestry, but it doesn't look like he'll ever get there.

Two of the Republican candidates have perfectly normal-sounding names, except when you consider one is made up of two first names (Ron Paul) and the other two last names (Duncan Hunter).

Mitt Romney is a baseball name (no pun intended).

Taking a page out of McKinley's book, John McCain's "family roots in Europe are Scotch-Irish. His great-aunt was a descendant of Robert the Bruce, an early Scottish king." (so states his campaign website) That might be enough to get him by.

Just Fred Thompson on the Republican side has anything approaching a fully normal name. What a pity "Fred" as a first name has been so laden with loserdom of late.

The guy coming on right now from the right sounds like a character out of Mark Twain, but in the Year of Funny Names, Huckabee might just be electable (I certainly can't argue with his first name). Having a name that echoes and evokes the memory of an iconic American literary character, one that defines so much of the American experience, while living on the life force of the U.S.--the Mississippi River, the same one that made Huckleberry Finn a household name--may not be a bad thing, at least not in the Year of Funny Names. But it still sounds more like a vice president's name than one for the Commander in Chief.

As for the Democrats, overall they have a handful of more-or-less regular-sounding names: Joe Biden, Chris Dodd, Mike Gravel, Bill Richardson, with John Edwards taking the cake.

The weirdness begins with Dennis Kucinich. Even his campaign seems to recognize this with it's "Dennis for President" bumper stickers.

Hillary Rodham Clinton might sound all Waspish to the untrained ear. Clinton can be traced back to British royalty somewhere. But we must deal with "Hillary", the first women's name pretending to the throne, and one that hearkens back to a highly blue-blooded mountain climber. Then "Rodham". Of course it's a woman, and an avowed feminist at that, so we must suffer through that whole maiden name thing (even thought it's the last name that will get her elected, if at all, meaning she's reliant on her man--and his men).

The pinnacle of all unelectable weirdness comes next: Barack Hussein Obama. Need I say more?

Burning Bras

Rolande Dubreuil can't even remember a time when married women in Quebec were known by their husbands' names.

The 28-year-old, who got married last year, was just 2 in 1981, when the province passed a law decreeing that women keep their own names when they marry.

Feminists hailed the law as a symbolic step toward equality of the sexes. But a quarter-century later, some brides are questioning the government's right to dictate a choice they think should be personal.
"I detest the fact that the decision is imposed on me. It makes me think of the feminists who burned their bras."
said Dubreuil, a homemaker in St. Roch de l'Achigan, 60 kilometres northeast of Montreal.

Letter to Premier

The issue surfaced in August when a Gatineau woman wrote to Premier Jean Charest demanding the right to use her husband's name.

Caroline Parent's stance sparked lively debate on Internet wedding forums and unleashed a flood of letters to The Gazette from women bemoaning that they are forced to use their maiden names.

The controversy pits women demanding freedom to choose against those who hail the law as a landmark for women's equality.

Not Sexism

But Dubreuil doesn't associate her desire to take her husband's name with sexism.
"Obviously I don't feel like a piece of livestock. For us, it's a beautiful tradition."
Parent, a federal civil servant who is still awaiting Charest's response to her letter, said she has received many messages of support.

Parent is originally from Ontario but her husband, Karl Lamirande, is from Quebec. The main reason she wants his name is that she plans to have children and would like everyone in the family to have the same last name.

Alain Roy, a family law professor at the Université de Montréal, said many of the young women he teaches want to take their husband's name when they marry.

"It's simply a matter of convenience. It holds no negative symbolism for them."

Stark Contrast

About 95 per cent of American women still take their husbands' names, said David Johnson, a sociology professor at Pennsylvania State University who has studied the issue with his wife and research partner, sociologist Laurie Scheuble.

Educated, urban women are more likely to keep their names than those with less schooling and those in smaller communities, Johnson said.
"You go to rural parts of the Midwest like Nebraska, for a woman to keep her name is unheard of. It creates a stigma."
"When you get married, you become a joint being. I definitely believe the kids should take one name."
said Laura Ellner, 25, a newlywed from Montreal now living in Toronto.

Roy said it's time for Quebec to soften its stance on married names:
"Women are mature enough to choose. They should have the choice, like women elsewhere."

© The Gazette (Montreal) 2007, "Do you take this name? Some Quebec brides want to say 'I do'" by MARIAN SCOTT, The Montreal Gazette, Monday, December 03, 2007.

Spread the Word

Associated Press Under Fire for Biased Sex Abuse Study
By Respecting Accuracy in Domestic Abuse Reporting
Oct 23, 2007

WASHINGTON - A recent Associated Press investigation on sex abuse in schools is being criticized as biased and harmful to abuse victims. Experts say the study used flawed methods and reached faulty conclusions.

"When a female teacher becomes sexually involved with a student, the child's complaint is often not believed and the woman's misconduct is less likely to incur criminal sanctions," explains Gordon Finley, psychology professor at Florida International University. "By ignoring that gender double standard, the AP has done a tremendous disservice both to victims and to female teachers who need treatment."
Evidence shows the consequences to the victims of female sexual predators fall within the same range as for male sexual predators.

An American Association of University Women student survey found that 43% of sexual abusers were female. But the Associated Press study, which only looked at school district disciplinary actions, reported that one in 10 sexual abusers were female.

Dale Bespalec, psychologist at the Milwaukee Secure Detention Facility, notes that boys are less likely to report abuse than girls.

Even when a complaint is filed, "86% of the victims of female sexual predators aren't believed, so the crimes go unreported and don't get prosecuted," according to the Canadian Children's Rights Council.[i] "Unfortunately they look at it as the 'Mrs. Robinson syndrome' and think everything is OK," according to Dale Potter, a Tennessee district attorney.[ii]

The double standard extends into the courtroom. District attorney Tony Rackauckas of California has observed that female sex offenders are not sentenced "to the same kind of lengthy prison sentences that the men get," according to a 2006 CBS News report on female sex offenders.[iii]

CNN's Nancy Grace has asked,
"Why is it when a man rapes a little girl, he goes to jail, but when a woman rapes a boy, she had a breakdown?"

R.A.D.A.R. - Respecting Accuracy in Domestic Abuse Reporting - is a non-profit, non-partisan organization of men and women working to improve the effectiveness of our nation's approach to solving domestic violence.


Edtor's Note: Karla Homolka, arguably Canada's most notorius sexual deviant/torturer and sexual predator, served a brief period in jail when she and her husband sexually mutilated and murdered a number of teenage girls. Her husband, Paul Bernardo, will never be let out of prison. Karla Homolka claimed to be a victim of domestic violence and received a plea bargain before video tapes surfaced which proved that she was a full participant in the torture and mutilation, which even included her own sister whom she killed.

'Defies Logic'

"He looks like a blow-up dinosaur in some parts. When you actually look at the detail of the skin, the scales themselves are three dimensional . . The arm is breathtaking. It's a three-dimensional arm, you can shake the dinosaur by the hand. It just defies logic that such a remarkable specimen could preserve."
--Phillip Manning, paleontologist at the University of Manchester in England who is leading the inquiry into this mummified hadrosaur.
"It's a dinosaur that was turned into stone, essentially."
--Tyler Lyson, who originally discovered the dinosaur as a high school student in North Dakota in 1999, now a graduate student in paleontology at Yale University.
"It's almost as if we've geochemically preserved this dinosaur laboratory, and we've only just unlocked the door."
--Roy Wogelius, geochemist at the University of Manchester.

Maybe they'll even get around to explaining how biomatter waits around long enough to turn to stone.

Encyclopedia Prehistorica Dinosaurs: The Definitive Pop-Up

Cheerleader Promoted

Tamara Darvish has just been voted chairman of the Washington Area New Automobile Dealers Association.

Looks like she's going to need those skills she learned as a cheerleader--actually dressing up in "a white leather mini-skirt, red high heels and a glitzy red- and white-striped blouse" to promote her father's dealership on T.V.--as she's never actually sold a car herself. Not as a salesman, that is.

Just too superior morally, and in every way, one guesses, to need to know the business in order to represent it like a man would.

From "In Male-Dominated Industry, A Woman Grabs the Wheel" by Anita Huslin, appearing in The Washington Post Monday, December 3, 2007.

Monday, December 03, 2007

If He'd Only Listened

Before John Mack re-took the reigns at Morgan Stanley, he reached out to Vikram Pandit and other executives who had left, including Joseph Perella and John Havens. None had jobs and all were open to returning to the firm that they loved — on the condition that co-president Zoe Cruz leave.

Now Morgan Stanley’s chief executive has ousted her over the $3.7 billion ($6 billion being a worst case estimate) in losses the firm suffered due to the subprime loan fiasco. As co-president Zoe oversaw all the firm’s trading and risk operations, and earned the nickname "Cruise Missile".

They paid her $27 million last year--and $100 million since 200--for her good efforts.

Suddenly Real Money

Worth just $3.09 on the 21st of January 2002, when the Canadian dollar hit an all-time low of 61.79 cents, the Canadian five dollar bill is today actually worth more than five dollars U.S.

So who is Sir Wilfrid Laurier, anyway, and why does he grace Canada's most popular bill? The reverse side depicts children engaged in winter sports, including sledding, ice skating, and hockey. This is accompanied by a mawkish quotation from Roch Carrier's short story "The Hockey Sweater", in both English and the original French.

Now that your currency's finally worth something, let's get real.

The Amazing New Kindle

Amazon Kindle is a revolutionary portable reader that wirelessly downloads books, newspapers, magazines and blogs to a crisp, high-resolution electronic paper display that looks and reads like real paper, even in bright sunlight.

Kindle customers, no matter where they are in the U.S., can wirelessly shop the Kindle Store and download new content — all without a PC or a WiFi hot spot. Amazon pays for Kindle’s wireless connectivity so there are no monthly wireless bills and no service commitments for customers. The Kindle Store contains over 90,000 books that can be purchased and delivered wirelessly to Kindle, each in less than a minute. Customers can choose from hundreds of top newspapers, magazines and blogs and have their subscriptions auto-delivered wirelessly. All New York Times Best Sellers and New Releases are $9.99, unless marked otherwise.

At 10.3 ounces, Kindle is lighter and thinner than a paperback book, carries two hundred books, and includes built-in access to The New Oxford American Dictionary and wireless access to the Earth’s biggest encyclopedia,