Archive for March, 2005

Affirmative Action for Conservatives?

Posted in Cry-Baby Conservatives on March 30, 2005 by Blog Admin

<p>(Please note David Horowitz changed his web site shortly after this posting was made)</p><p>Is it me, or is there something particularly hypocritical when those who most vocally oppose affirmative action to help reverse historical (and current) discrimination against racial minorities and women call for affirmative action in political party representation on campuses?  According to David Horowitz''s web site, <a href="">Students for Academic Freedom</a>, one of the primary concerns is that there are too few conservatives on campus.  To further support my contention that the web site overly emphasizes faculty political party affiliation as proof of bias, students are invited to participate in &quot;research&quot; of faculty bias at the link entitled, <a href="">&quot;How to Research Faculty Bias&quot;.</a>  This link directs students to create a spread sheet of faculty members and their political party from voter registration lists, and to submit these spreadsheets to <a href=""></a>.  So, the rabid attack-dog conservatism has progressed to such a level that academics should feel that voting in the democratic party is something that we must defend.   Citizens of the U.S. are proud of their freedom of expression, yet this feels fascist to me!</p><p>One more thing:  The name of the David Horowitz's web site (Students for Academic Freedom) suggests that it is driven by students, when in fact it is not.  The result of this makes David's extensive quoting of himself appear a little less biased (emphasis on little).   </p>

Cry-baby Conservatives on attack in Academia

Posted in Cry-Baby Conservatives on March 26, 2005 by Blog Admin

<p>In the April 4th issue of the Nation Russell Jacoby's article, <em><a href="">The New PC, Crybaby Conservatives</a></em>, discusses the latest assault on free speech by conservative groups.  Conservatives are alleging that campuses are not giving equitable representation to conservative ideas and that conservative students are claiming to be harassed by academics because of their conservative perspectives.   People like David Horowitz are transforming the notion of academic freedom to stifle left and liberal points of view through his organization, <a href="">Students for Academic Freedom</a>.  </p><p>The damage that such movements cause is to encourage students to refuse to participate in various elements of courses such as reading requirements or viewing films.  Based on the experience of my colleagues, students have claimed that certain books or films may offend their religious views, and therefore they should be exempt from such material.  Of course, this will serve to water-down the content of classes if we need to exempt students based on their potentially being offended.  The role of academia is not to be comfortable, but to expand students' horizons.  The process of expanding one's thinking can be uncomfortable, so protecting students in this manner is a severe disservice.</p>

Shame on you Governor and President Bush!

Posted in Media Watch on March 24, 2005 by Blog Admin

I promised myself that I would not contribute to the already excessive discussion of <a href="">Terri Schiavo</a>, but here goes.  Politicizing the despair of the Schiavo family for political purposes is horrible.  That Jeb Bush found a politically motivated neurosurgeon to influence the legal process is a low, Rovian move.  The law is clear in terms of who makes this decision, and Terri's husband did everything possible while there was hope for her recovery.  Keeping Terri alive against her wishes is unlawful, and should stop.  The <a href="">Supreme Court has rejected the parents' appeal for the second time</a>, so please let her die with dignity. 

Hate crime in Santa Fe

Posted in Homophobia Watch on March 17, 2005 by Blog Admin

Bravo to <a href="">Governor Richardson</a> for speaking out forcefully against the <a href="">brutal gay-bashing</a> that occurred Feb 27 in Santa Fe New Mexico, and for applying New Mexico's <a href="">new hate crime law</a> for the first time to this incident.   This horrific event was not extensively reported.  I heard a report on <a href="">NPR covering the incident</a> by Angela Taylor, but nothing on other mainstream news sources.  Such hate-crimes must be loudly and publicly condemned. 

Despite "No Confidence" vote, Lawrence Summers will stay.

Posted in Sexist pigs on March 16, 2005 by Blog Admin

<p>Gee Lawrence, what will it take to show you the door?  Given your poor track record for tenuring women, and your publicly expressed belief that women are innately less suited to science and math fields, it seems that you might be a bit of a liability.  Have you checked the gender <a href="">breakdown of undergraduate enrolments in biology and environmental sciences lately</a>, or are they not a &quot;real&quot; sciences in your book?  <font style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: #333333" color="#ffffff">Bravo to the faculty of Harvard for </font><a href=""><font style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: #333333" color="#0099ff">voting no-confidence 218 to 185</font></a><font style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: #333333" color="#ffffff">.  Do future undergraduate women a favor, and step down.  What kind of message are you sending them?  How many future Barbarba McClintocks and Jane Goodalls will never emerge because of you? So, as many Harvard students sang yesterday, &quot;Na na na na, hey hey Good bye&quot; Lawrence!</font></p>

Jane Goodall

Posted in Women's Voices on March 13, 2005 by Blog Admin

<p>Once again in honor of Women's History Month and to offset the damage done by Lawrence Summers, I am focusing on a great woman scientist, the renown primatologist <a href="">Jane Goodall</a>.  Jane Goodall faced many obstacles to her being accepted by the scientific academic community. As Jane initiated her scientific career, she did not have formal scientific training, and went about her data gathering in an unconventional manner.  Some of Jane's strategies included naming the individual chimpanzees that she studied, rather than numbering them, and recording information about chimpanzees' vivid personalities.  It was Jane who shook our understanding of what it is to be human by observing chimps using tools to gather food.  At this time it was assumed only humans used tools.  </p><p>One may ask how a women without (at least initially) formal scientific training could become a world-famous primatologist.  It was the brilliance of <a href="">Louis Leakey</a> to recognize the limitations of formal scientific methodologies.  He intentionally looked for someone with intelligence, but no formal science background.  Jane had been serving as his personal secretary, and the rest is history.  Jane did pursue and receive her PhD, but not before making startling discoveries.  She continues to be a tireless advocate for conservation education through her institutes, the <a href="">Jane Goodall Institutes</a>.  Imagine if this different-thinking woman would have been silenced by a Lawrence Summers of her time!</p>

Stop the Bush Propaganda in the Social Security Administration

Posted in Social Security Watch on March 9, 2005 by Blog Admin

<p class="MsoNormal" style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt"><font face="Times New Roman" color="#ffffff" size="3">The </font><a href=""><font face="Times New Roman" color="#ffffff" size="3">Committee on Government Reform</font></a><font size="3"><font face="Times New Roman"><font color="#ffffff"> has recently issued a report called,<span style="mso-spacerun: yes">  </span></font></font></font><a href=""><font face="Times New Roman" color="#ffffff" size="3">“Politicization of the Social Security Administration” </font></a><font face="Times New Roman" color="#ffffff" size="3">in which concrete evidence is cited showing the transformation of the Social Security Administration <span style="mso-spacerun: yes"> </span>from an administrative body to a politicized body.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes">  </span>Since the appointment by George W. Bush of </font><a href=""><font face="Times New Roman" color="#ffffff" size="3">Jo Anne Barnhart </font></a><font face="Times New Roman" color="#ffffff" size="3">to the agency’s Commissioner, communication from the agency has dramatically changed in tone.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes">  </span>The message has essentially shifted from, “Will Social Security be there for you? Absolutely!” in 2000 to “Social Security must change to meet future challenges” in 2004.</font></p><p class="MsoNormal" style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt"><font color="#ffffff"></font></p><p><font face="Times New Roman" color="#ffffff" size="3"> </font></p><p><font color="#ffffff"></font></p><p class="MsoNormal" style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt"><font face="Times New Roman" color="#ffffff" size="3">We need the Social Security Administration to carry out its objectives of administering Social Security benefits and not an arm of the Bush Administration propaganda machine.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes">  </span>We have already seen the </font><a href=""><font face="Times New Roman" color="#ffffff" size="3">Bush Administration bribing “journalists”</font></a><font face="Times New Roman" color="#ffffff" size="3"> to support their point of view on issues ranging from “No Child Left Behind” to Bush’s marriage initiative. Enough is enough!<span style="mso-spacerun: yes">  </span>No more propaganda!</font></p>

Barbara McClintock

Posted in Women's Voices on March 5, 2005 by Blog Admin

<p><span style="FONT-SIZE: 9.5pt; COLOR: #333333; FONT-FAMILY: Verdana"><font color="#ffffff">In honor of Women's History Month and as a sort of antidote to recent media support of Lawrence Summers' suggestion that women are innately less suitable to enter scientific and mathematical fields, I would like to remind everyone of </font><a href=""><font color="#ffffff">Barbara McClintock's</font></a><font color="#ffffff"> contributions to science.  Evelyn Fox Keller has </font><a href=""><font color="#ffffff">a fabulous book concerning Barbara</font></a><font color="#ffffff">, called </font></span><strong><span style="FONT-SIZE: 10pt; COLOR: #333333; FONT-FAMILY: Verdana"><font color="#ffffff">A Feeling for the Organism </font></span></strong><b><span style="FONT-SIZE: 10pt; COLOR: #333333; FONT-FAMILY: Verdana"><strong><span style="FONT-FAMILY: Verdana"><font color="#ffffff">The Life and Work of Barbara McClintock.  </font></span></strong></span></b><span style="FONT-SIZE: 10pt; COLOR: #333333; FONT-FAMILY: Verdana"><font color="#ffffff">Barbara McClintock represents an instance of how women's cognition is necessary to accurately express the complexities of scientific phenomenon, that traditional reductionistic approaches cannot adequately express.  Barbara McClintock was a </font><a href=""><font color="#ffffff">cytologist</font></a><font color="#ffffff">  who studied higher-level (more complex) organisms than her male counterparts.  Although she was a renowned researcher well before 1929, she could not get a tenure track position at a University until 1936, and it was an entry-level position.  </font></span><span style="FONT-SIZE: 9.5pt; COLOR: #333333; FONT-FAMILY: Verdana"></span></p><p><font color="#ffffff"></font></p><p><span style="FONT-SIZE: 10pt; COLOR: #333333; FONT-FAMILY: Verdana"><font color="#ffffff">Barbara had a unique ability to recognize complex structural relationships in genetic materials by observation that allowed her to discover sophisticated genetic interrelationships, like &quot;mobile genetic elements&quot;, for which she was granted a </font><a href=""><font color="#ffffff">Nobel prize in 1983</font></a><font color="#ffffff">.  Barbara discovered this phenomenon in the 1940's and yet it took several decades to receive acknowledgment.   It appears that women's interconnected way of thinking actually contributed to Barbara McClintock's brilliance, rather than detracted from it.  What do you think of that Lawrence?!</font></span></p>

ABC News suggests that Lawrence Summers is justified

Posted in Sexist pigs on March 2, 2005 by Blog Admin

<p align="left">On the <a href="">ABC Evening News yesterday (March 1, 2005)</a> Peter Jennings indicated that Lawrence Summers is justified in suggesting that biological differences are a significant reason why women are underrepresented in engineering, mathematics, and science.  </p><p align="left">Historically, science has pointed to various physical differences in women to &quot;explain&quot; their inferiority, especially in the realm of intelligence.  <a href="">According to the NY Times, &quot;A century ago, the French scientist Gustav Le Bon pointed to the smaller brains of women - closer in size to gorillas', he said - and said that explained the &quot;fickleness, inconstancy, absence of thought and logic, and incapacity to reason&quot; in women.</a>&quot;</p><p align="left">There are clear biological differences between men and women, which applies to our brains as well.  I think it begs the question that one brain structure should be superior to the other.  Scientific paradigms tend to favor male (atomistic/positivistic) thinking and discriminate against female (contextual and interconnected) thinking styles.  Shouldn't quality problem solving involve multiple thinking strategies and paradigms?  <a href="">&quot;The Gendered Atom&quot;</a> does a nice job of explaining how science has been biased against women, and does not adequately represent the complex interconnected reality of science.</p><p align="left">Despite the brain research that currently exists, I think it is inexcusable to suggest that women are not cut-out to be scientists or anything else for that matter.  It's time to retire Summers!</p>