Hey, I know about that binder! And guess what — Mitt Romney was lying about it.

From the rush transcript

CROWLEY: Governor Romney, pay equity for women?

ROMNEY: Thank you. An important topic, and one which I learned a great deal about, particularly as I was serving as governor of my state, because I had the chance to pull together a cabinet and all the applicants seemed to be men.

And I — and I went to my staff, and I said, “How come all the people for these jobs are — are all men.” They said, “Well, these are the people that have the qualifications.” And I said, “Well, gosh, can’t we — can’t we find some — some women that are also qualified?”

And — and so we — we took a concerted effort to go out and find women who had backgrounds that could be qualified to become members of our cabinet.

I went to a number of women’s groups and said, “Can you help us find folks,” and they brought us whole binders full of women.

I was proud of the fact that after I staffed my Cabinet and my senior staff, that the University of New York in Albany did a survey of all 50 states, and concluded that mine had more women in senior leadership positions than any other state in America.

Now one of the reasons I was able to get so many good women to be part of that team was because of our recruiting effort.

Not a true story.

What actually happened was that in 2002 — prior to the election, not even knowing yet whether it would be a Republican or Democratic administration — a bipartisan group of women in Massachusetts formed MassGAP to address the problem of few women in senior leadership positions in state government. There were more than 40 organizations involved with the Massachusetts Women’s Political Caucus (also bipartisan) as the lead sponsor.

They did the research and put together the binder full of women qualified for all the different cabinet positions, agency heads, and authorities and commissions. They presented this binder to Governor Romney when he was elected.

I have written about this before, in various contexts; tonight I’ve checked with several people directly involved in the MassGAP effort who confirm that this history as I’ve just presented it is correct — and that Romney’s claim tonight, that he asked for such a study, is false.

I will write more about this later, but for tonight let me just make a few quick additional points. First of all, according to MassGAP and MWPC, Romney did appoint 14 women out of his first 33 senior-level appointments, which is a reasonably impressive 42 percent. However, as I have reported before, those were almost all to head departments and agencies that he didn’t care about — and in some cases, that he quite specifically wanted to not really do anything. None of the senior positions Romney cared about — budget, business development, etc. — went to women.

Secondly, a UMass-Boston study found that the percentage of senior-level appointed positions held by women actually declined throughout the Romney administration, from 30.0% prior to his taking office, to 29.7% in July 2004, to 27.6% near the end of his term in November 2006. (It then began rapidly rising when Deval Patrick took office.)

Third, note that in Romney’s story as he tells it, this man who had led and consulted for businesses for 25 years didn’t know any qualified women, or know where to find any qualified women. So what does that say?




Michele Smith Became The First Female Analyst For A National Baseball Broadcast Yesterday. Here’s How Viewers Reacted.

TBS broke unprecedented ground Sunday when they put analyst Michele Smith in the booth alongside Ernie Johnson and John Smoltz for their broadcast of the Dodgers-Braves game. It’s the first time a woman has ever served in the commentary role for a national MLB broadcast, and is one of a handful of breakthroughs in a summer that marks the 40th anniversary of the passage of Title IX.

Smith won two Olympic gold medals as a softballer, and is a member of the Softball Hall Of Fame. She’s certainly an expert on softball, having served as one of ESPN’s chief announcers for the sport, and testing her out for an MLB broadcast was an interesting idea. (It’s also one announced with surprisingly little fanfare; we only learned of the broadcast today.) Here’s baseball blogger William Tasker’s take:

She also knew what she was talking about. Her insights were usually spot on. The one awkwardness of the entire broadcast was the incessant pandering of the two men on the broadcast team to talk about or bring up Smith’s softball exploits. Such pandering was probably meant to make Smith as comfortable as possible, but it also gave the impression that such comments were needed to justify Smith’s existence on the broadcast. From a personal standpoint, during a broadcast, the less said about the broadcaster the better. Concentrate on what is going on in the field.

This is why we can’t have nice things.



My name is Anna, and I completely agree with Richard Lawson’s review of Brave.

(Some spoilers below.)


At no point does Lawson say that the movie is missing a depiction of maleness or male relationships. Instead, he make the (valid) argument that of the infinite the story lines available, Pixar chose one of the flattest, easiest, and most conventionally feminine, one that Lawson rightly summarizes as, “She’s just a girl who doesn’t want to get married? She’s a girl who rejects girl things and is thus a hero? (Because girl things are silly, whereas swords and arrows are totally cool, period.)” And oh, by the way, she doesn’t get along with her mother and turns her into a beast—teenage girls, amiright?

There is no larger theme of mortality (Toy Story), loss and grief (Up), humanity (Wall•E). There isn’t even anything all that new about Pixar’s take on mother-daughter relationships: they fight, Merida runs away from home, uses magic to punish her mother, instantly regrets this, and comes around when she’s forcefully reminded that she’s still just a girl who needs to be protected from the scary, wild world.

Beyond that, I was uncomfortable during the scenes with Merida and her mother-as-bear, because though I knew the point was to laugh (and to marvel at the truly impressive animation), I realized later that I don’t need yet another opportunity to find humor in the literal dehumanization of a woman, and I don’t need yet another example of a woman who is supposedly better off for having been forcibly changed.

To date, Pixar has released thirteen movies. Its first twelve featured male protagonists, a problem in and of itself, which is why Brave was so damn exciting. (I teared up every time I saw a preview because…Brave!) But ultimately, what sets Brave apart from those first twelve movies is not that its protagonist happens to be a girl, but that its protagonist must be a girl. Woody, Carl, Wall-E, and the rest: the gender of these characters could be swapped without significantly changing the stories and themes of their movies, but Merida must be female, because only women are expected to choose between rejecting traditional gender roles and keeping the kingdom safe, and it breaks my heart that this is the only story Pixar could think to tell about a teenage girl.

TL;DR: Where’s my “Define Dancing” moment of Pixar magic? The closest Brave gets is that one brief but beautiful scene in which Merida takes a day off from being a princess and rides through the woods, practicing archery and eventually climbing the falls, looking for just a minute like everything I’d hoped she and her movie would be.

I enjoyed the movie, and more so its music, but I also wasn’t captivated by it like I was the Toy Story movies, Up, Incredibles, Ratatouille, and Wall-E. I agree with the common criticism of the movie, many of the story beats felt typical Disney, and not a good way but in the it has been done a dozen times sort of way. 

The following quote from above is an excellent point and not one I thought about until I read it.

"I don’t need yet another opportunity to find humor in the literal dehumanization of a woman, and I don’t need yet another example of a woman who is supposedly better off for having been forcibly changed."


Before Limbaugh’s crude injection of himself into the discussion, the public was divided over a proposed federal rule that would require employers, including most religious organizations, to cover contraception as part of their health care benefit plans, according to a February Pew Research Center poll.

Independent voters surveyed were the most evenly split, with 48 percent saying that religious institutions should be required to provide contraception coverage, and 46 percent saying they should be “given an exemption.”

The survey, says Pew’s Carroll Doherty, was taken during the time the Obama administration modified its proposal to include most, but not all, institutions affiliated with religious organizations in the coverage mandate.

But once Limbaugh weighed in, the debate center shifted from the question of religion and contraception coverage to women’s private lives and their ability to speak in a public forum without being denigrated. (NPR)



Never one to pull any punches when it comes to inane ideas, Rush Limbaugh is seemingly on a mission to outdo himself at every turn:

Conservative talk show host Rush Limbaugh, already under fire from Democrats over his language in discussing a Georgetown University law student who testified about contraception, ratcheted up his rhetoric on Thursday, saying the student should post an online sex video if taxpayers are forced to pay for contraception.

Limbaugh on Wednesday had referred to student Sandra Fluke as a “slut” for supporting a requirement that health insurance cover contraception. On his radio show Thursday, Limbaugh went a little further:

“So Miss Fluke, and the rest of you Feminazis, here’s the deal. If we are going to pay for your contraceptives, and thus pay for you to have sex. We want something for it. We want you post the videos online so we can all watch.”

What’s unclear to me is why Limbaugh doesn’t just say what he means, namely that he opposes women making any choices for themselves when he’s perfectly capable of making all of their choices for them.

HT: Jeannette Jones-Vazansky.


Newest GOP Attack on Women: Just Say No to Tampons



The GOP obsession with my private parts is getting out of hand.  I’m just gonna post this without additional comments because I have NO WORDS!  These assholes are getting out of hand with their bullshit. ~ Kim

Newest GOP Attack on Women: Just Say No to Tampons

 "tampon" "GOP" "Republican"

In recent weeks, the GOP attack on contraceptives and women’s rights has been returning to the legislative tables, and causing a stir among women’s rights activists and media outlets nationwide.

Now it seems that many within the Republican party who strive to ban contraceptive use also see it as a necessity to prohibit the use of tampons, and seek to ban the sales of these and similar products as soon as possible.

Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) recently put together an all male panel for discussion at the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform hearing on the contraceptive coverage rule and excluded women from the conversation. It seems that he is set to establish a similar group of men to discuss the use of tampons within a woman’s vagina.

It is unnatural for a woman to insert a foreign object into her body for the sake of stopping the menstrual flow. I, as well as several others seek to eliminate the sales of such objects. Women should let nature take care of itself the way that our Almighty Creator intended. To try to manipulate and control such an occurrence goes against God’s plan for women.

Initial drafts of this new legislation have already been brought before Speaker John Boehner (R-OH), and several other GOP Congressmen. It is likely to come to a vote as early as next month. If passed, tampons will no longer be available to sell or purchase, and women will have to find an alternative means to alleviate menstrual excreta.

Several Democratic Congresspeople are already petitioning in dissent of this new piece of legislation, and will not give up without a fight to preserve a woman’s right to take care of her own body as she deems most effective.

This is a joke…right? 

Is there a link to a story about this somewhere?



On his “conscience” bill - The Blunt Amendment - Senator Roy Blunt (R-MO) said the following in a February press release:

This bill would just simply say that those health care providers don’t have to follow that mandate if it violates their faith principles. This is about the First Amendment. It’s about religious beliefs. It’s not about any one issue.

Except that it is about one issue: a woman’s choice.

It’s about her choice to follow her own principles, be those in faith or godless heathenism. It’s about her choice whether or not to use contraception based on those principles.

The Blunt Amendment tells me women should not be allowed to make that choice. Rather, the employer makes those health care decisions for the entire company based on his or her own moral compass. Keep in mind this amendment is applicable to any kind of health coverage and allows employers to opt out of coverage based on “their religious beliefs and moral conviction.”

From S.182:

[The Affordable Care Act] does not allow purchasers, plan sponsors, and other stakeholders with religious or moral objections to specific items or services to decline providing or obtaining coverage of such items or services, or allow health care providers with such objections to decline to provide them.

By creating new barriers to health insurance and causing the loss of existing insurance arrangements, these inflexible mandates in PPACA jeopardize the ability of individuals to exercise their rights of conscience and their ability to freely participate in the health insurance and health care marketplace.

I’m thoroughly entertained by legislative language like the sentence I bolded above. You’d think the Affordable Care Act forced employers to escort their female employees to the Abortionplex.




I think everyone should work in food service at least once, simply because it cultivates an empathy that, as far as I can tell, is otherwise nonexistent. Anyone who claims that the United States is free from day-to-day classism has clearly missed out on what it’s like to be the person behind the cash register, or the person standing to take orders from and bring food to seated guests who can’t be bothered to say please or thank you.

And sarcasticsamwise makes the excellent point that it’s approximately one million times worse for women, who are already walking targets for harassment and abuse, but who, when put in a position of marked and socially accepted subordination are that much more likely to be treated like shit.

Long story short, don’t be an asshole; tip your servers, and tip them well.



By Stephanie Coontz

“Mad Men’s” authentic portrait of women’s lives in the early 1960s makes it hard for some women to watch. Over the course of its first three seasons, I interviewed almost 200 women from the same era for a new book on the Greatest Generation’s wives and daughters. Many had suffered from the same numbness that plagued Betty Draper in the first season. They had seen psychiatrists who were as unhelpful and patronizing as the one Don Draper hired for his wife, or they had been married to men who displayed a sense of male entitlement similar to Don’s. Those who had worked, whether before or after marriage, had experienced the same discrimination and sexual harassment as the female employees at the show’s ad agency.

Yet to my surprise, most of these women refused to watch “Mad Men.” Not because they found its portrayal of male-female relations unrealistic — in fact, many recounted treatment in real life that was even more dramatic and horrifying than that on the show. It was precisely because “Mad Men” portrayed the sexism of that era so unflinchingly, they told me, that they could not bear to watch.

The rest of us, however, should tune in for a much-needed lesson on the devastating costs of a way of life that still evokes misplaced nostalgia. We should be glad that the writers are resisting the temptation to transform their female characters into contemporary heroines. They’re not, and they cannot be. That is the brilliance of the show’s script.

“Mad Men’s” writers are not sexist. The time period was.

This is now a blog about how excited I am for Mad Men to restart on March 25th.