csberry: (pumaman)
Yesterday while I ate my lunch from 12:25-:45pm CDT, I flipped back and forth between CNN, Fox News, and MSNBC. Here is what I saw:

Fox News - Megyn Kelly had a male and female on the air with her ("Fox News contributors" - whatever that means). They were talking about Richard Falk. Apparently he is on the UN Human Rights Council and is a professor at Princeton and UC-Santa Barbara. It seems he wrote an essay about how US foreign policy helps to breed terrorists, thus, the Boston Bombing is kinda America's fault. That is about all of the facts I ever heard on the story. Otherwise, it was the three of them sharing their disgust with the general gist of the essay and wondering why there isn't more of an outcry against the guy...whom I've never known of and a writer of an essay I will likely never see.

CNN - They had continuous check-ins with various reporters in Boston and Washington D.C. about the latest developments in the Boston Bombing story. There was a few minutes where they covered the tornadoes and weather going through southern Louisiana and New Orleans. Otherwise, it was reporters sharing facts and statements from sources.

MSNBC - Andrea Mitchell discussed a dinner Pres. Obama had the night before with the women in the Senate. Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) was interviewed by Andrea about the dinner. The Senator discussed the food they ate, how hospitable the president and the First Lady were, how the conversation focused on finding bipartisan solutions to the nation's problems, and the camaraderie of the group. I think she said "bipartisan" over 50 times in 3 minutes.
csberry: (pumaman)
A group of professionals decide to start a business. There are three partners, three skilled assistants, and three low-skilled staff members. Being a group of progressives, the partners decide that all pay will be based on position in those three categories with no individual pay negotiations or bonuses. For the sake of easy math, let's say the partners get $20/hr, assistants get $10/hr, and staff gets $5/hour. No sexism there, right?

Well, two of the three partners are male. The same is true with the assistants. For the staff, all three are female. Well, since all positions are paid the same no matter the sex of the employee, that's equal pay, right?

However, if you take all the men and their pay and compare it to the women, the math goes like this:

Two male partners and two male assistants equals $60/hr going to men. One female partner, one female assistant, and the three staff only get $45/hr. Then, let's break it down a bit more and the 4 men earning $60/hr averages at the men in the company earning $15/hour. And that $45/hr divided by the five women equals $9/hr. But I thought the men were being paid the same amount as the women?

Sadly, the statistic about women in America making about 77-80 cents for each dollar men make is based on this last kind of math - adding up all the pay, adding up all the males/females, and making a sex-based average (the low end is when you put the entire population into the math and the higher end is when the numbers are broken down into general industries - software, manufacturing, law). But when studies put forth the effort to get statistics on men and women in the same jobs (not merely the same industry or career field) with the same level of education and experience, the gender pay gap is actually closer to women earning 88-96 cents for the male dollar.

At this time, men dominate the CEO and other C-level positions in America while women are the majority of the "low-skill" or entry-level workforce. That is why I made my example business set up with men dominating the top of the pay bracket and women filling the lower range.

So, while things aren't as bad as the 77 cent situation, obviously there is still more room for improvement when looking at the apples-to-apples comparisons. Essentially, much of the discrimination is on the jobs men and women go into (can get a job in) and not quite so much how much the employer pays the males vs. females. My hope is that we are in the midst of change. Women now outnumber men in colleges. It is only a matter of time for more of these college-educated women to stay in their careers and ascend the corporate ladder. As they ascend, the sexists shaving benefits and being more firm in negotiations with women will decrease. Also, more women are choosing child-free lives and more "high-risk" jobs (such as frontline soldiers getting combat pay, truck drivers, and oil riggers) that pay much more are opening up for women.

These factors should lead to Equal Pay Day moving earlier in the year.

Some resources:
http://www.econlib.org/library/Enc1/ComparableWorth.html

http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/2012/jun/21/barack-obama/barack-obama-ad-says-women-are-paid-77-cents-dolla/

http://www.slate.com/articles/double_x/doublex/2010/09/are_young_women_earning_more_than_their_boyfriends.html

http://www.payscale.com/gender-lifetime-earnings-gap
csberry: (normal completely different)
I posted this as a comment a little while ago. I've been trying to think of the right words to convey my thoughts on this policy. While I have a philosophical opinion, I know there are many PR, practical, and "cultural" obstacles that this change will cause. It is up to someone else to decide whether these new obstacles are better than the current obstacles caused by the ban. Here are my thoughts on the issue in better words I wrote down and deleted the other day, but definitely not a definitive treatise on this.

The arguments on this policy basically rely on two concerns - practical and theological.

The Venturing program (which has co-ed, boy, or girl units) has been one of the few areas of growth for the organization. Because of the increase in female youth and adults and the reaction the organization had to the pedophile allegations a couple of decades ago, there have been a huge wave of policies, updated facilities, and training changed to nearly eliminate any time where people are in potentially compromising positions. While not all facilities around the nation have completely converted away from group bath/shower situations, those facilities are in the minority. When units are in those group bath situations, though, policy indicates that times of use are to be scheduled so no one of differing genders nor age (adults and scouts) are using those facilities at the same time. Of course, there may be folks worried about catching AIDS from toilet seats, but there isn't a "practical" solution for that kind of paranoia. I think the only area now where the boys will likely see policy change is the BSA is likely to go to a "no-share" rule when it comes to tents.

Secondly is the theological. The Scout Oath that each scout takes states he will do his "duty to God" and to "keep myself...morally straight." One of the points in the Scout Law is A Scout is Reverent. The BSA doesn't dictate religion and is has many policies about ecumenicism and being respectful of differing religious beliefs. Thus, if a scout's religious beliefs don't state that the scout's homosexuality is a sin or immoral, then the scout is living up to his duty to God, is being morally straight, and can be reverent (I believe there is more to "being reverent" than eschewing sin). If a boy is a gay Southern Baptist, then, yeah, that complicates things.

And let's get this "straight," too. The term "morally straight" isn't some code that you have to be heterosexual. The term "straight" didn't come to be used as slang for heterosexuals until the 1940s (where it was slang within the homosexual community). It didn't come out to the mainstream culture until a couple of decades later. There is no way that "morally straight" meant "sexually hetero" when it was put into the scout oath in 1911.

I think, one way or another, the BSA will be changing over the next decade. We could see a co-ed BSA with gay members, we could see a growth of co-ed troops/crews alongside traditional troops, and we could see the BSA continue its membership and financing decline. We are a country that is polarized on so many social and political issues and having a national policy that is guaranteed to tick off half of the country is not a good way to grow the organization. While conservatives chant "state rights" on many political issues, the policy that the BSA is making results in the decision on gay membership even more localized than the state level. Either people will embrace the diversity being allowed among the various BSA units or they won't. Somehow I've got to think that this "unit choice" option likely ticks off less than half of the population by not making this a national decision.
csberry: (Bong)
God gave us certain rights and the US Constitution specifically protects certain rights, but people not being responsible with their rights is what gives politicians the leverage needed to take away more and more of our liberties.

From Lesley Aileen Wells (friend of a friend):

Between the Newtown NRA heckler and the San Francisco urologist who was fatally shot in clinic, maybe it's time for us gun people to rein in our crazy. I know most of us are Southern and we like to put our crazy in its Sunday finest out on the front porch for the world to see, but there was a man in Georgia who shot a Hispanic person for turning around in his driveway. Why was he in the driveway? He was lost. We need to jerk the crazy back in the house, give it a whipping, a stern talking to, and stand it in the corner to think long and hard about what it's doing for us. Otherwise, nobody is gonna get to go the barbecue anymore and we certainly won't have fresh venison or hog to enjoy.

Whether discussing gun rights, abortion, or any other divisive political issue, the most common tactic nowadays to attack a position is to find the stupidest person supporting that position and use that person as a personification of everyone with that position. Alas, the supply of stupid people is more than enough to provide ammunition for attacking every issue.
csberry: (What The Joel)
If you haven't read about it:
http://thehayride.com/2011/04/westboro-baptist-church-goes-to-mississippi-and-loses/

The more I've seen people post about this story on FB, the more uncomfortable I get with what the folks in MS did. It is easy to praise their actions because of a shared dislike of the opinions and actions of the Westboro Bapt Church. But let's substitute that group with the Freedom Riders or Tea Party activists or Christian missionaries or (insert group you endorse here). The actions done seem less legal and worth praise once looked at that way - especially the taking into custody and questioning under false pretenses.

Freedom of Speech should never be restricted just because we don't like what others have to say. Certainly no one endorses a group of people at a gas station beating a man just because he's gay and was headed to lobby for gay marriage. Are those people who "forgot" any identifying information about the people who assaulted him worthy of praise? Do "good old boys" deserve praise for blocking in members of the NAACP's cars at their hotel to keep them from monitoring voting stations to ensure equal access to the polls? Does falsely taking you into custody and questioning you on bogus crimes justify the fact that you have an opinion that others around you despise? Those of you with the "I'm a blue dot in a really red state" stickers and t-shirts really should watch out if you endorse this sort of suppression of minority speech.
csberry: (DonnaOMG)
Last Wednesday morning I was up early because the weather radio was sending out alerts like crazy overnight and throughout the day. Things were seemingly going well. None of the tornadoes seemed aimed for the south side of town. They were all going to the north of us or really far south.

But you don't have to get hit directly to be affected. Around 5:20pm last Wednesday, a storm/tornado finally made a big, wide-reaching impact. The line of external power to the local nuclear plant and the three main lines that run from the plant to the various cities of North Alabama were knocked out. As in...the HUGE metal towers were now scrap. Essentially power between Florence (in NW AL) all the way across the northern portion of the state to the Georgia border was knocked out. The Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) would have to completely rebuild the towers for those three feed lines before anyone in the north portion of the state could get power.

There was one exception to this. A town just north of the plant (for some reason) has a direct power link to the plant and their electricity was still flowing. Come Thursday, Athens, Alabama was the hub of emergency commerce. It was the only city that citizens of Huntsville, Decatur, and their surrounding metro areas could go for gas and other supplies.

On Thursday, JD and I weren't certain how long the power was going to be off. What we learned via FB and the radio was it would be somewhere between 2 and 7 days before TVA could build replacement towers to send power to the cities and then have the power restored to our house. We decided to go ahead and trash all of the food that we didn't think we could keep cool or wouldn't otherwise use in the next 3 days. We threw as much of the meat and other frozen items we could into a cooler, packed up suitcases with 4 or 5 days worth of clothes, and headed to JD's parents' house. They didn't have power, but they have a gas stove and a propane grill. Thursday was spent making that move and doing our best to make certain nothing was on or going to spoil or stink if we were out of our house for 3+ days.

My fil and I were already scheduled to attend a learning conference in Nashville on Saturday. I had planned on staying Friday night with my brother. With the power outage, my fil decided that he was willing to pay for two hotel rooms for a couple of nights so we could all go to Nashville. On Friday morning, a couple of nearby gas stations got generators and were pumping gas...for those willing to wait 45+ minutes in line. I ensured I had enough gas to get into TN and returned home to pack up the family.

We spent Friday afternoon through Sunday afternoon in Nashville. Shortlegs got to see us for a few hours each day we were there. While I and my fil were at the conference on Saturday, JD and my mil took the kids to the zoo. On Sunday, we visited the kids science center. We returned to Huntsville just before sunset on Sunday. News was that power from TVA was starting to flow and that it should be available to residences some time Tuesday afternoon.

However...around 9pm, the power came on at my in-law's house. Yeah, it was quite a surprise and we kept expecting the power to go back off. But it didn't. As I lay on the floor browsing the internet Sunday night, I started to see little announcements that the president was planning on addressing America on TV. It didn't take long for word that it was an announcement of Osama Bin Laden's death to get out. I walked to the steps, saw my in-laws were in bed reading and let them know of the situation. My fil came downstairs and joined me in waiting for and then watching the president's announcement. Sunday was quite an adventure.

On Monday morning, we packed everything up of ours and headed for the house. After dealing with a faulty outlet that kept the circuit for both the kitchen fridge and the computers/modem in the "dining room," things started to slip into a minor task of putting away everything we brought back and doing some minor straightening.

Utilities and the city have been asking for folks to conserve water and energy as everything gets running again, so I have yet to do laundry, but otherwise have the house back to normal. One thing that happened during the power outage was that I pulled out the Settlers of Catan game I got for Christmas. JD bought it for me after reading about it via some of her friends. Thankfully, the boys were interested in playing and then completely got into the game. The only caveat being that the boys don't have the attention span for a full game yet, so they end up taking turns playing one player every few minutes. But I got to play the game 3 or 4 times in a couple of days.
csberry: (bigmclargehuge)
There are local elections in Huntsville tomorrow. I'll be voting on two positions: my city council district rep and city schools district rep.

City Council - District 3
I'm voting for James Lomax. Lomax is a freshman at UAH that was heavily involved in Ron Paul's campaign a couple of years ago and is a member of a youth organization that promotes libertarian positions. Philosophically, the guy is pretty much on the same boat as me. Now, while others may consider his youth a con, I consider it a pro. None of the candidates are old-hat city govt figures that have extensive networks and understand "the system." From Lomax's speeches I've seen, feedback I've heard from friends, and repeated comments from various press (pro and blogger), they all say that he has a passion and knowledge of local government and politics that belie his years.

Why not vote for Olshefski - who has amassed more campaign donations than his other 7 rivals combined? He's running on his being the former garrison commander of Redstone Arsenal, but I've only heard negative comments from military/defense contractors that worked with him and his office. I've heard stories of unprofessional behavior, over-delegation, and negligence of duty. Add to that prospective the fact that he's been non-committal against a sales tax hike, all of his positions are vague with no indication that he has a plan, and that every time I see a picture of the guy I get a smarmy, dirty feeling about him.

I wouldn't be upset if Barry Pendergrass were to get the position, he just doesn't really do anything for me.


School Board - District 3
I'm not voting FOR the incumbent, Dr. Jennie Robinson. I'm voting AGAINST Walker McGinnis. Yes, I'm upset with how the school board has run over the past few years taking tiny financial steps as the state repeatedly, drastically cut the funds sent to the city. BUT Robinson can't be scapegoated on this; the woman is consistently making the typical GOP-small govt arguments at the school board and backs that up with votes most of the time. No, I'm not happy about the superintendent getting a severance package (about $100k) to buy out the remainder of her contract. However, the school board basically had the choice of paying this compromise amount or letting the superintendent stay in position for the next year. Would McGinnis keep the superintendent or is he thinking there is some magical way to fire the superintendent with no severance? Didn't the city end up settling in the millions of dollars with the previous superintendent for doing that? I'll gladly pick paying $100grand over keeping her another year or paying out millions in a settlement (and about as much in legal fees)...thank you very much.

Whether you find my opinions informative, offensive, or whatever, if you are a Huntsville resident, I hope you will take the time to vote tomorrow.
csberry: (Default)
I got lots of love for Huntsville's most famous celebrity right now - Antoine Dodson. Something I could always count on when screening calls for the radio show was that people will get passionate about what they would do if someone raped/injured/killed a family member. Antoine's original interview so well encapsulated that emotion. His and his sister's comments about the perpetrator's stupidity is classic!

Here is an update on Antoine since finding internet fame this past week:
csberry: (DonnaOMG)
The quiz at the end included this question:
"When asked by reporters whether or not she was scared when a snake came out of her car's air conditioning vent, a Texas woman said...blank."

Like Mo Rocca said, this answer could be anything. But the real answer is...














"Well, somebody crapped in my pants."
csberry: (What The Joel)
There seems to be a lot of hubbub about Obama not attending the Memorial Day ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery. Arlington is ONE of 146 national cemeteries for deceased veterans. The fact that Obama will be attending a ceremony at the Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery actually seems like a better idea to me than his attending the ceremony at Arlington.

When veterans returned from various wars this past century, not all of them were welcomed home with open arms and praised. Many came home and just did the best they could to get back to "normal." Then, when they died, they weren't all buried in the prestigious Arlington National Cemetery. Hundreds of thousands of deceased veterans lie buried in the cemeteries that are spread across our great country. Why are they less worthy of a visit by the president on Memorial Day? Millions of people (from families to curious tourists to international dignitaries) visit the gravestones at Arlington each year, but who visits the other cemeteries to give respect to those without the connections or luck to go to Arlington?

A lot of people like to label Obama an "elitist." But isn't only visiting Arlington and not going to other national cemeteries elitist? Why is it wrong for the president to take this opportunity to visit a different national cemetery to thank the veterans for what they did in service of our country and to help spotlight that you don't have to go to Washington D.C. to see acres upon acres of veterans' headstones?

RIP - Guru

Apr. 20th, 2010 07:40 pm
csberry: (Default)
Rapper Guru dies after battle with cancer - CNN.com

Honestly, my only exposure to Guru was with the first couple of volumes of the Jazzmatazz series in the mid-90's. The combination of the music with his rapping style fit into my interest in jazz and spoken word performances. I was thrilled to be able to play Jazzmatazz Vol 1 on my shifts at both the student radio station and the NPR affiliate station. This is also one of those situations where I know the music as an album and not a collection of songs. It was odd listening to individual tracks on YouTube to pick one to post here on LJ.

Guru - "When You're Near (w/ samples of Freddie Hubbard and Esther Williams)"
csberry: (Default)


thanks to [livejournal.com profile] valiskeogh for passing this along
csberry: (bigmclargehuge)
Of the several dozen stories I read today about the BCS Champ Game last night, this one is my favorite one that pinpoints the difference between a win and a loss last night.

Forde: Thunder road

Posted using ShareThis
csberry: (normal completely different)
JD recently reminded me of something a college friend of mine did. Michelle was concerned that she was talking too much and not really listening to others. I don't remember the duration, but think that for about a week, she decided to try an experiment. She found a small, smooth pebble. Michelle cleaned it and put it in her mouth. Keeping that pebble on her tongue was to be a constant reminder to listen and observe those around her.

I feel a strong urge to buy several cubic yards of pebbles so I can mail them out to all of the politicians, pundits, and wingnuts that MUST HAVE THEIR VOICE HEARD!

I'm all for political discussion and debate, but just as Monty Python taught us, an argument isn't just contradicting what the other person said. Don't expect a lot of sympathy from those in the "center" or somewhat apathetic to your issue if you keep saying those that don't agree with you are (insert insult here - evil, unpatriotic, racist, socialist, psychotic, inhumane, etc.). On the other side of the coin, let us not forget that just because someone is ranting doesn't mean their arguments are invalid.

Please take a pebble and take turns listening for just a while. It may not be as exciting but I bet we could accomplish a lot more.
csberry: (Beard)
they say celebs die in threes. leave it to billy mays to throw in one extra COMPLETELY FREE!

link
csberry: (Default)
Study confirms most people are idiots.



And still half clicked Yes?

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Cory Berry

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