Wednesday, June 06, 2007

That's okay: I didn't want to be paid the same amount as dudes anyways

In an America where you can sue a dry cleaner to the tune of 67 million dollars for a lost pair of pants, I'm finding it impossible to conceive that similar retribution has been made virtually impossible for victims of pay discrimination.

180 days to file a claim relating to such an issue is a joke; and the plaintiff, Lilly Ledbetter is the personification of this problem, as it took nineteen years before it was realized she was getting paid forty percent less then the lowest paying male supervisor (see this fantastic article).

Justice Ginsburg puts it correctly in her dissent saying, "In our view, the court does not comprehend, or is indifferent to, the insidious way in which women can be victims of pay discrimination...Title VII was meant to govern real-world employment practices, and that world is what the court today ignores."

The Grossman and Brake article states, "An employer could pay a woman less than her male counterparts for her entire career, and admit that the reason for doing so is because she is female, as long as the decision to set the discriminatory wage happened at least six months earlier. This rule places untenable burdens on employees and circumvents Title VII's substantive protection against pay discrimination."

Will I ever sue because of a pay discrepancy? Probably not. I like to believe, though, when ever I'm in a tough situation that the law "is on my side" and works most of the time (I know, I know; how I manage to sometimes so romanticize 'the law', even baffles me at this point) . But that romanticism is what gave me the strength to tell my boss' supervisor when I worked at the dinning hall, that they couldn't simply change the names of our foreign exchange students to something "American" because my boss couldn't pronounce their real name, and not think I would get fired. (Oh, the good ole days when I knew nothing about 'big corporation' and the ability of an employer to make you want to leave)

This takes so many steps backwards towards getting the pay gap closed. It's something that makes me struggle to find an area where the law is, in fact, "on my side" when they seem to care about an already rich guys pants over low paying workers trying to get through the every day. Yes, these two cases aren't in a direct competition at all, but the fact that the first case can exist while the second is now shut down, is extremely disheartening.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

By a show of hands...

Ah, more debate. With Kucinach still in the race; does it get any better? It could, probably, if the candidates weren't reduced to having to raise their hand every other question. Come on, asking for a show of hands is something you use to decide who wants to go to the Mexican place to eat verses the Chinese one, not to determine who thinks English should be the official language of the United States, and certainly not to discern candidates concerns about the 'don't ask, don't tell' policy.

How frustrating.

But there were a few gem questions like Wolf Blitzer asking seriously, "what would you do with Bill Clinton?", then looking according uncomfortable, uneasily realizing the flaw of the question as he turned to Hillary Clinton to ask the question again. I admit; I'm easily amused, and still in college and fairly young, so I find it perfectly acceptable to laugh at ill phrased questions such as that. So I giggled again when Bidden explained his disagreement to the 'don't ask, don't tell' policy as uniquely as he always manages to with stating about once you're in a hole, your not asking the other guy next to you whether they are gay or not. He meant foxhole, and I'm sure everyone knew it... everyone who has grown up at least.

For a two hour debate without commercials, overall I thought:
  • there was too much Blitzer talking, especially when he insisted on repeating other folks' questions.
  • Blitzer referring to everyone else by their title and last name, and referring to Clinton as Hillary for some of the debate was inexcusable.
  • Gravel was uncomfortably angry the entire time (maybe because he's polling below 1%?), which made me sad and angry because I had totally essentialized all Alaskan folk as basically being cold, but very still very HAPPY versions of hippies (especially with the Men in Trees drama awhile back). So basically, my illusions are shattered; 'plow guy' doesn't exist, and certainly there isn't a sweet and simple Patrick guy waiting for me, and Jack is just a lie. Alaskans are actually apparently even grumpier then we all are.
  • Obama really doesn't know how to talk about policy. And I got out the line ''we need a po-litical solution, not military one" before he did, so score one for me, but probably minus a lot more for him.
  • Clinton starting to answer every "if you were president" question with, "when I'm president" was a phenomenal move on her part. Similarly, her stating for everybody involved which questions they will all answer was exceptional. This was a great technique to try and get us not to focus on how she is claiming that, "if she knew then what she knows now" she would not vote for the war, BUT she somehow still contends that she was fully briefed before she voted, and that she knew all the facts.
  • Bidden impressed me with how he talked about Darfur, and reminding everyone of the urgency to act now ("as we sit here talking, 50,000 will be dead in Darfur"). Similarly, my mouth is still hanging open that Richardson apparently feels intervening with the Beijing Olympics to stop a genocide would be a "disproportionate" action. Seriously??
  • Kucinich admitting he wouldn't kill Bin Laden if given the opportunity (assassination bad, following laws good), probably lost him any long shot he had in this race, but I admire him (yes, some more) for answering honestly, and for sticking with his principles.
And the best part, what does Kucinich want to do during his first 100 days in office? Aww, "reshape the world for peace". I'm getting images of Sandra Bullock, William Shatner, and Heather Burns explaining her favorite "date".

Hey, the republicans are about to go at it now; we shall see if they will make me laugh or cry more.

I'm not quite sure why my last post is so catastrophically weird and hard to read, but hopefully it will never happen again.