aTypical Joe: a gay New Yorker living in the rural South
Tuesday, May 15, 2007
MySpace responds to AGs pressure on predators
MySpace is glad to comply - “In the 12 days since the software has become operable, we have deleted and removed every registered sex offender that we identified out of our more than 175 million profiles” - but notes that turning over names would violate the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA) and tosses it back at the states:
[MySpace chief security officer Hemanshu] Nigam instead suggested that politicians could be taking different measures to combat sex offenders’ presence on sites like MySpace. “We need cooperation from lawmakers to drive mandatory sex offender email registration legislation at the federal and state level to make blocking predators from community-based websites a more efficient process,” Nigam wrote. “Our hope is that the Attorneys General who signed onto this letter, and other websites, join us in pushing this legislation into law.”
The eight attorney generals (Georgia’s among them) finding fault with MySpace are acting out of craven political self-interest rather than any real child-safety interest. Statements like “I tell parents every day that MySpace is a dangerous place for teenagers,” don’t bowl me over with wisdom. Real child safety advocates take a different view:
“I haven’t seen in my 12 years of working on these kinds of issues a company jump through as many hoops and respond as quickly and diligently as MySpace,” said Donna Rice Hughes, president of Enough Is Enough, an Internet safety organization.
Scalia and Thomas and Brennan and Marshall
Cass Sunstein looks at the history of Constitutional Visionaries on the Supreme Court and finds that in the twentieth century they happened to appear in liberal pairs of frequent dissenters - Holmes and Brandeis, Douglas and Black, Brennan and Marshall:
And in many domains, the dissenting pairs had a powerful effect on the law, moving the Court as a whole in their direction...I do not mean to suggest that being visionary is necessarily a virtue, or that visionary qualities are necessary or sufficient for being great. A justice can be a visionary without being excellent and even without being especially good.
But then he wonders:
[Are we] now in a period lacking constitutional visionaries? Actually, no. In an important respect, Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas qualify as the successors of the great dissenting pairs in the Court’s history. Scalia and Thomas have a clear and large-scale vision for constitutional law, in which (for example) affirmative action is abolished, Roe v. Wade is overruled, commercial advertising receives broad protection, campaign finance laws are invalidated, congressional power is significantly limited, and the president receives broad power to protect national security.
In fact Scalia and Thomas are playing very much the same role as Brennan and Marshall in the 1970s, Douglas and Black in the 1950s, and Brandeis and Holmes in the first decades of the twentieth century--offering clear, passionate, dissenting opinions with an occasionally significant effect within the Court itself and even the nation as a whole. In law schools, and to some extent in the culture, Scalia and Thomas seem quite like Brennan and Marshall a few decades ago, in the sense that their dissents have a kind of clarity, energy, and coherence that often attract admiration even from those who disagree with them.
Of course these claims raise many questions. How shall we classify the Court’s “Four Horsemen” of the early twentieth century (Justices James Clark McReynolds, George Sutherland, Willis Van Devanter, and Pierce Butler), who voted to strike down maximum-hour and minimum-wage laws? The Four Horsemen are not usually considered visionaries. Is this because they lost? Perhaps more fundamentally: In a democracy, isn’t it best to have justices who are careful and excellent, rather than visionary? Some of us believe, in principle, that a minimalist path is usually appropriate, especially on large questions on which the nation is divided.
These issues are controversial. But one thing is entirely clear: The absence of anything like an ambitious or heroic vision on the Court’s left, and the existence of a clear such vision on the Court’s right, is having a major and largely unnoticed impact on the public’s understanding of both the Court and the Constitution.
He always reminded me of my father; still does. For those who don’t remember, I ran away from home.
Steve Benen’s is emerging as the definitive retrospective from the blogosphere, “When I worked at Americans United for Separation of Church and State for several years, I read Falwell’s materials, I listened to his speeches, I watched his interviews, and got a real sense for who this man was and what he devoted his life to...” Read it and weep.
Wonkette is most vitriolic. Again and again and again and again. John Aravosis is the runner up, but he’s got the video of Falwell saying just last week that he stands by his 9/11-is-the-fault-of-gays claim. Bravo John!
You might expect this from Wikipedia (Bravo Wonkette again!) but many of us have learned that the real factual atrocities come from our beloved (sarcasm drips) cable news networks. This one from MSNBC, via Josh Marshall at TPM…
A movement or a turd? (reprised again)
I so enjoy that headline, I can’t help but refer back to it again and again. Today’s excuse, when asked about a presidential run in an interview with Diane Sawyer on GMA, Newt responded that “I think right now, it is a great possibility.”
Remember with me that Fortune magazine called Gingrich the ‘08 Stealth Candidate back in November:
The radical realist who defied conventional wisdom 12 years ago by stealing the House out from under the noses of entrenched Democrats now plans a surprise attack for the presidency. “I’m going to tell you something, and whether or not it’s plausible given the world you come out of is your problem,” he tells Fortune. “I am not ‘running’ for president. I am seeking to create a movement to win the future by offering a series of solutions so compelling that if the American people say I have to be president, it will happen.” So he’s running, only without yet formally saying so.
Shelley Lewis, author of Naked Republicans: A full frontal Exposure of Rightwing Hypocrisy and Greed, wonders:
Wow. I’m picturing David Blaine, only chubbier, older and even more full of himself. So...if he’s not running, but he’s waiting for a sign that the American people want him to be president, what do we do, text message our votes, like on American Idol, or something?
Gingrich himself made the American Idol comparison in yesterday’s GMA interview, before calling the election process “exactly wrong as a way of choosing a national leader.” A wannabe techno-utopian, it might have been interesting to follow that up and see what he suggests we try instead. I’m sure it would have been great fodder for another blog post.
In its stead I’ll point back to The Turd Speaks in which Newt declares that terrorism requires a reexamination of the First Amendment and We Know Newt which points to an AP report finding that only 30% of Georgians would vote for the guy.
Working in black and white
We are racially segregated today in every meaningful sense, except for the letter of the law. And the survivors of segregation and immigration toil for pennies on the dollar, compared to those they serve.
[Experience bears out] what social scientists are finding: strong bias against mothers, especially white mothers, who work. (Recent research shows bias against African American mothers of any class who don’t work, a subject that deserves an article of its own.)
An article I’d be eager to read.
Stay-at-home moms: opt out or pushed-out?
E.J. Graff argues, forcefully and persuasively, that it’s the latter:
Here’s what feminism hasn’t yet changed: the American idea of mothering is left over from the 1950s, that odd moment in history when America’s unrivaled economic power enabled a single breadwinner to support an entire family. Fifty years later we still have the idea that a mother, and not a father, should be available to her child at every moment. But if being a mom is a 24-hour-a-day job, and being a worker requires a similar commitment, then the two roles are mutually exclusive. A lawyer might be able to juggle the demands of many complex cases in various stages of research and negotiation, or a grocery manager might be able to juggle dozens of delivery deadlines and worker schedules—but should she have even a fleeting thought about a pediatrics appointment, she’s treated as if her on-the-job reliability will evaporate. No one can escape that cultural idea, reinforced as it is by old sitcoms, movies, jokes—and by the moms-go-home storyline.
Still, if they were pushed out, why would smart, professional women insist that they chose to stay home? Because that’s the most emotionally healthy course: wanting what you’ve got. “That’s really one of the agreed-upon principles of human nature. People want their attitudes and behavior to be in sync,” said Amy Cuddy, an assistant professor in the management and organizations department at Northwestern Kellogg School of Management. “People who’ve left promising careers to stay home with their kids aren’t going to say, ‘I was forced out. I really want to be there.’ It gives people a sense of control that they may not actually have.”
So yes, maybe some women “chose” to go home. But they didn’t choose the restrictions and constrictions that made their work lives impossible. They didn’t choose the cultural expectation that mothers, not fathers, are responsible for their children’s doctor visits, birthday parties, piano lessons, and summer schedules. And they didn’t choose the bias or earnings loss that they face if they work part-time or when they go back full time.
By offering a steady diet of common myths and ignoring the relevant facts, newspapers have helped maintain the cultural temperature for what Williams calls “the most family-hostile public policy in the Western world.” On a variety of basic policies—including parental leave, family sick leave, early childhood education, national childcare standards, afterschool programs, and health care that’s not tied to a single all-consuming job—the U.S. lags behind almost every developed nation. How far behind? Out of 168 countries surveyed by Jody Heymann, who teaches at both the Harvard School of Public Health and McGill University, the U.S. is one of only five without mandatory paid maternity leave—along with Lesotho, Liberia, Papua New Guinea, and Swaziland. And any parent could tell you that it makes no sense to keep running schools on nineteenth century agricultural schedules, taking kids in at 7 a.m. and letting them out at 3 p.m. to milk the cows, when their parents now work until 5 or 6 p.m. Why can’t twenty-first century school schedules match the twenty-first century workday?